The Last Wines of Summer


Apples, gourds, and snifters of port are right around the corner. Let’s cherish the last bits of summer before they’re all gone. Here are four choice picks, all under fifteen dollars, from some of the web’s top palates. Each one pairs well with sand and suntans. Cheers!

Old Reliable Savvy-B

The 2016 Crowded House Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand (SRP $12.95), earned a score of 91 points at the 2017 Decanter World Wine Awards as a best value buy and for good reason. This Sauvignon Blanc, the result of a drought year, is intense, concentrated, and succulent. The tangy, citrusy acidity is accompanied by an unexpectedly luscious mouthfeel, thanks to sur lie aging. Tropical fruits and freshly-cut herbs collide on the palate. This wine is all at once juicy and sumptuous, lively, yet supple. The long finish is mouth-wateringly tart, complex, and clean. At this price point and quality, you cannot go wrong with buying this in bulk to pair with your summer.

Elizabeth Smith
Traveling Wine Chick

Rosé in the Right Vessel

Summertime and the livin’ is easy. You’re off to the beach, picnics in the park, pool parties, hiking, camping, outdoor concerts or just chillin’ on the patio. If you’re a wine aficionado, then you need a wine that’s easy. And by “easy” I don’t mean plonk. Life’s too short!  By easy, I mean it pairs well with a wide range of summer fare from salads to burgers to BBQ and offers superb portability. That’s why my recommendation for an under $15 summer wine is a canned wine - the 2016 Alloy Wine Works Everyday Rose. It’s a vibrant blend of 70% Grenache, Mourvèdre, Chardonnay, and Chenin Blanc that comes in a 500ml tallboy can, which is equivalent to over three glasses of wine. It has a refreshing and dry fresh strawberry, watermelon and peach character with hints of guava and mint leaf. It’s a great example of the canned wine segment which has seen triple digit growth the last few years. It’s a quality wine made by Andrew Jones of California’s Field Recording winery from hand-picked Central Coast grapes. Since it’s canned wine no wine opener, or glasses required (although I think it tastes better from a glass because the aromas aren’t muted. Bring an unbreakable glass for maximum enjoyment). It’s recyclable and will stay chilled in a koozie. Worried about it having a metallic taste? Forget about it!  Like other beverages sold in cans, none of the can wines I’ve tasted have had any tinny flavor. Grab a can, throw it in a cooler or your backpack and pair it with warm summer nights, dinner outdoors, friends and good times! It’s summer time! $6.50/can; $30/4-pack; 12.5% abv.

Martin Redmond

The Cava Craze

I like to beat the summer heat with ice cold bubbles. Cava is the smart buyer's choice, with the highest quality to price ratio for sparkling wines. Only wines made using the same traditional method used to make champagne can be labelled as 'cava', but it usually is made with local (Spanish) grapes that can thrive in Spain's hot growing season. My pick this summer is Cristalina Cava Brut by Jaume Serra. This delightful sparkling wine has aromas of flowers and toast with very fine bubbles. Flavors of apple, pear and blood orange zest with a crisp, fresh, and lively mouthfeel complete the profile for the low SRP of $10/bottle, cheap enough to be your daily drink! And if you were planning a summer of rosé, well you are in luck: Serra offers his Cristalina Cava Brut Rosé at the same price point, made with pinot noir and trepat grapes and offering a strawberry-cherry taste profile. What's not to love?

Jim van Bergen
JvB UnCorked

Back in April, I was given the great pleasure of visiting Catalonia, Spain. As one can guess, I tasted lots and lots of Cava – the Spanish sparkling wine that is made in a similar, high quality, fashion as Champagne... yet there are variants in their process. One of the biggest differences is that Cava uses Catalan grape varieties as well as the main Champagne varieties such as Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Segura Viudas has been a huge proponent for using the Catalan varieties such as Macabeo, Parellada and the Xarel·lo, yet during my visit to their impressive winery, I had a chance to try their sparkling Segura Viudas Cava Rosé, made with 90% Trepat and 10% Garnacha. What is Trepat? Well, that was my question too! It is a local variety that they are trying to save that gives pretty purple flowers and raspberry flavors with a hint of dried leaves and pepper… this wine also had some wild strawberry notes with a chalky finish. And all for only 9 bucks! You heard me… NINE dollars!!! Why has it taken me so long to drink Cava Rosé?!? And let me tell you something, after riding around on a bike across the Segura Viudas vineyards, and finally stationing ourselves at the top of one of their plots with an incredible view, there was no other wine that could have been more perfect than a Cava Rosé made with local grapes. The whole time I was in Spain, everyone kept saying that the Spanish have a long history of not marketing themselves well… hence why Cava is extremely undervalued. All I can say is to start drinking all the Cava you can get your hands on now before they become savvier at promoting themselves!

Cathrine Todd
Dame Wine

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