When the hot weather sweeps in, we banish our thick sweaters to the attic and pull out the lighter clothes. Similarly, our palates crave lighter drinks — and wines are certainly no exception. “This time of year I start thinking about really crisp, clean wines,” says Tim Buzinski of Artisan Wine Shop in Beacon. Below are five blends that will suit a variety of occasions, from a traditional dinner to a barbecue — even a bonfire. Just be sure to chill your reds as the days grow warmer, Buzinski advises: “It’s best to just put them in the fridge for 15 minutes.” And the best thing about these summer vintages? None of them costs more than $15.
Instead of cracking open a beer at your next barbecue, try the eco-friendly Yellow+Blue Select Red ($15). The California deep purple blend with a spicy finish balances a burger, steak, or any other meat you have going on the grill. And don’t worry about your carbon footprint; this wine is certified organic and comes in a one liter-sized box rather than a bottle.
Buy what the pros do: Buzinski is particularly fond of Domaine Dupeuble Beaujolais ($15). This light red French wine has a somewhat sweet taste, with a note of cherry flavor; it also has the flexibility to be paired well with many foods. After a few minutes of chilling, it acts as an excellent refreshment for any course.
If you’re feeling like having fish for dinner, the white Montinore Estate Pinot Gris from Oregon is a savvy choice. Falling right between the $12 and $15 mark, Buzinski says it is a little weighty but also clean, and tastes great with richer fish like Arctic char. An herbal aroma entices the nose while mango, honeydew melon, and hints of pear and apple appeal to the palate.
Don’t forget to pack Hermanos del Villar Ipsum Rueda DO ($11-$13) for your picnic. This economical Spanish white — a blend of the Iberian verdejo and viura grapes — is dry but fresh, and full of citrus and zest. Not too tangy, it is ideal for casual sipping with friends.
For lovers of Italian reds: La Sera Red Malvasia ($12-$15) is slightly sweet, but not overpoweringly so. It goes very well with chocolate desserts — so make sure you bring it along to the backyard bonfire to wash down those sticky s’mores.