10 Essential Summer Wines

summer wines

Unlike winter, when wine choices often lean toward the comfort of big, bold reds, summer calls for everything from bbq-friendly reds to cool, refreshing whites and rosés. Here are 10 bottles that will carry you through the season, no matter the occasion.

Reds

Jordan Winery | Cabernet Sauvignon 2012
Loads of blackberry and dark cherry flavors define this Cab from Jordan. With a balance of acidity, fruit and tannins, the body is big and bold while maintaining a silky mouthfeel. Blueberries, cloves, black pepper and hints of slate join the party, followed by a lingering finish. Be sure to decant this one for a good hour or so before serving. Perfect for pairing with grilled steak or pork. $55, jordanwinery.com

Pavo Real | Red Blend 2012
Cultivated in Mexico’s Valle de Guadalupe region, this intense red blend (50% Grenache, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Ruby Cabernet and 10% Barbera) pairs perfectly with grilled meat, roasted salsa and warm tortillas. With a medium body and acidity, bursts of blackberry and peppercorn are followed by a tannin-heavy finish. $12, wallywine.com

Espelt |Garnacha Old Vines 2013
With a bit of time to open up, this wine made from 95-year-old Garnacha vines will sing with tangy blackberry, heaps of black pepper and a light, lingering layer of tannin. Pair it with creamy cheeses or rich, paprika-laden pallela. $12, wine.com

Whites

Falesco | Vitiano Bianco 2015
Equal parts Verdicchio and Vermentino shine in this cold-macerated, stainless-steel fermented and aged blend from Umbria. Fresh flavors of basil, lemon and white pepper and a lush texture define this medium-bodied white, which finishes with a long minerality. A perfect match for salads and shellfish. $18, yourwinecellar.com

Grooner | Grüner Veltliner 2014
Bypass the Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc and try this summer sipper for a change of pace. Light and zingy, this Austrian wine offers up subtle notes of pear, kiwi and citrus. $13, wine.com

Ameztoi | Blanco Txakoli 2015
One of summer’s brightest white wines hails from the Basque region of Spain. Made mostly from Hondarribi Zuri grapes, with 10 percent Hondarribi Beltza for added complexity, it’s nice and spritzy with hints of grapefruit and slate. Wine doesn’t get much more refreshing than this. $22, spanishtable.com

Rosé

Balletto | Sparkling Rosé 2012
With a color that leans closer to gold or coral than pink, this big-bodied sparkler hails from the Russian River Valley. The 100% estate-grown 70 percent Pinot Noir and 30 percent Chardonnay blend has a silky minerality that glides above lively bubbles (it’s bottle-fermented for three years), with hints of tart strawberry and floral yeast peeking over a bed of warm vanilla. Perfect for special summer occasions. $42, ballettovineyards.com

Charles Smith | Vino Sangiovese Rosé 2015
If you just want to grab a bottle and go, aim for this fresh, unassuming rosé from Charles Smith Wines in Washington. Made from 100% Sangiovese, it’s an easygoing wine that balances minerality with sweetness and flavors of honeysuckle, melon and lemon. $12, charlessmithwines.com 

Chateau Puech-Haut | Saint Drezery Prestige Rosé 2015
This rosé from the Côteaux du Languedoc region is a blend of 60 percent Grenache and 40 percent Cinsault grapes, grown in a mix of clay limestone and gravel. It’s full of minerality and acidity, with bright orange peel and sweet peach flavors mingling with hints of thyme and rose. $19, wallastonwines.com

Hecht and Bannier | Côtes de Provence Rosé 2015
High-altitude clay and limestone soils provide the foundation for this blend of Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah, Rolle grapes from the Provence region of France. Aromatically rich, it’s fruity and floral on the nose and full of strawberry and cool minerality on the palate. $18, wine.com