Essential Summer Wines Under $25.00
Moscato d’Asti | Spanish Rose | New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc | California Zinfandel
Picking a wine to buy when it’s cold is a cinch compared to when it’s hot. That’s why we’ve asked Dappered.com Drinks Correspondent Ben Madeska to turn his well experienced palate towards what wines to drink during the summer months. Plus, to stick with the affordable theme, he keeps em’ under $25.00. Bottoms up.
Moscato d’Asti | Saracco – $12.98
My one essential summer wine is Moscato d’Asti. In fact, it’s in the running for my favorite wine period, but it really shines in the summer. Moscato is also a wine for people who don’t like wine simply because it’s shockingly delicious. There’s no reason to complicate this further. If you’re throwing a party and don’t know what people will like to drink, they’ll like this. It’s sweet, but not like a Lemontini. More like a fresh, ripe pear. It’s white too, so it won’t stain your favorite summer suit.
You’ll probably have people saying “I don’t like sweet wine” without even trying it. Unfortunately, somewhere along the line the myth that sophisticated palates don’t like sweet wines became an accepted fact. There’s a number of reasons for this, but it’s largely due to the fact that there’s millions of gallons of truly awful sweet wine out there. As any chef will tell you this is because sugar covers up many culinary faults. Here, the sugar is key to the overall appealing package.
Get the freshest Moscato you can. You shouldn’t have any problem finding the vintage from the previous year. Moscato is rich and refreshing, so it’s great by itself sitting on a hot, sunny deck. Pair it with any dessert, especially fresh fruit and even chocolate. Try Saracco for the best price/value, but you really can’t go wrong with any of them. I haven’t found any reason to pay more than $20.
Spanish Rose | Muga Rioja Rose 2009 – $9.80
A good rule of thumb for hot summer days is to drink wine from hot climates, they know what they’re doing there. Spanish Rose is pink but it’s not White Zinfandel. It’s usually bone-dry and crisp with a bit of heft. Spanish Roses are a good choice for grilled burgers and summer salads – honestly, they go with just about everything. You shouldn’t have any problem finding bottles for under $10. Find one you like and buy it by the case. Muga is a good place to start.
New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc | 2009 Kim Crawford – $14.99
Wine drinkers have simply become spoiled over the past few years. New Zealand has been exporting so much cheap, ridiculously good Sauvignon Blanc for so long it’s become boring. I’ve certainly been guilty of this thinking. So while you may not score creativity points showing up with a bottle of Kiwi Sauvignon Blanc, your bottle will probably be the first one emptied. Kim Crawford remains a solid choice, but don’t hesitate to grab anything from the Marlborough region. Great with fried chicken, seafood, and vegetables.
California Zinfandel | Ridge – about $20.00
Got a gun to your head, have to pick a favorite wine producer, you could do worse than name Ridge. They’ve been making Zinfandel since the 60’s and they show they know what they’re doing, vintage after vintage. They’re generally more expensive than other California Zins, but they have a depth and quality virtually unmatched. These wines are beefy enough to hold up to summer BBQ and are outstanding on their own.