The Best Summer Wines For Sipping Back With Your SO & Your Friends
Time to Wine Down: A Few of My Favorite Wines for Summer 2018
It’s no secret that I love wine. I always say that if I weren’t in the industry I am in now, I would absolutely be in the wine industry. Friends and colleagues often ask me for recommendations on wines. I’m very honored to have been asked to create a post on my favorite wines and some sleeper hits that you never would have tried. All of my favorites this year are rated 88 points and higher on Wine Enthusiast and range between $15-$50.
Summertime is synonymous with rosé. Sales have increased exponentially in the past three years, and there are many different rosés out there that are wonderful. I prefer one that is less metallic in taste and the perfect balance of juicy and dry.
Whispering Angel has become a beloved rosé in the region. You can find it at many local restaurants. It’s a lighter, juicier rosé that has a great finish.
My favorite, however, is definitely Heitz Grignolino Rosé. Largely noted with grapefruit, watermelon, Wine Enthusiast Top 100 ranked it #15 in 2017. The color is much deeper than your typical rosé, but the taste is magnificent and the price point reasonable, under $28. (Not like its sister Cabernet Sauvignon, which is one of my favorite reds but a little higher in price.)
You can’t beat a cool, crisp white in the summer months if you are not keen on beer or spirits. There are two white wines that stand out to me and don’t leave an aftertaste that is unpleasant.
Duckhorn Sauvignon Blanc is a delicious white that is always ranked between 88-90 points on Wine Enthusiast. Its price point is a tad higher than your Santa Margarita’s at $26-$30, but the delta is way worth it. It’s a perfect balance of citrus and melon and doesn’t leave a sweet, tangy aftertaste.
Tornatore Etna Bianco is one of my favorite Italian whites. When chilled to perfection, you will enjoy an apple and melon taste but with a ginger finish. Unlike many of the Italian whites I have tasted, this wine doesn’t make me feel I am drinking a white, as the complexities of the flavors are so synergistic of one another.
Malbec is a great introduction to red wine, as it is easy to drink with all of its fruity flavors. It is also not as heavy on the pallet as Cab. Malbec easily pairs with a variety of your favorite summer amuse-bouches!
Alma Negra M-Blend is by far the best Malbec in my opinion. Recommended to me by a local wine enthusiast back in 2013, its stole-the-show taste is full of black and blue fruits and has an earthy finish. Its label is pretty unique and mysterious as well. Definitely a stand out Malbec blend that is under $20. (Serve chilled.)
This is by far my favorite category of wines and what I drink. I am a huge fan of California Cabernets, even in the summer months. I chill my Cabernets, as they should never be consumed at room temperature. A Cabernet Sauvignon should never be enjoyed at a temperature that exceeds 60 degrees. Personally, I notice the flavors of the wine more when it is served at 55 degrees. I must say I have a few favorites in this department - it was hard to narrow it down!
Best “Every Day” Cabernet:
Sebastiani Cabernet from Sonoma County is by far the best in this category for a wine that is under $15 per bottle. Never ranked under 87 points, this wine never ceases to amaze me with the full bodied taste of a high end red at such an affordable price point. I call this an “every day” drinker because it doesn’t break the bank and drinks like a heavy hitter. Very underrated wine and a bit difficult to find but the right places have it at a price that's hard to beat with the quality of this grape.
Best “Celebratory” Cabernet:
If you're looking to spend a little money on a bottle of wine for a celebratory occasion, I would absolutely recommend Faust Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine never disappoints and it’s not your typical wine you see everyone drinking. Filled with black cherry, cassis and chocolate, this is a heavy hitter (as I like to call them!) and a great wine to share and celebrate with. Always around 88 points, this is a wine that a connoisseur would consume. It’s a little pricey at $50 a bottle retail, so definitely not an every day drinker but you will not be disappointed.
Best “Sleeper” Cabernet:
I call this a sleeper because you don’t find it everywhere. We stumbled upon it at a wine shop in Seekonk, MA and absolutely fell in love. Long Meadow Ranch is by far one of the big hits for me this season. The 2014 Long Meadow Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon is rich in plum and oak and has a finish like a bottle of wine that exceeds $200. Like I said, it’s hard to find, so if you see it, it’s definitely worth the $42 investment!