Summer Wine That Won’t Break Your Budget
There is no denying it, this summer is BRUTALLY hot. We are in the midst of daily 100+ temperatures here in Dallas, and it will not be cooling off anytime soon. What to do in the meantime? Hunker down in an air-conditioned space and enjoy a lighter libation to cool you down! Here are five affordable and tasty wines from around the world to keep you happy and cool this summer.
Domaine du Petit Clocher Anjou Blanc
I dig Chenin Blanc. I have no problem saying that. This white grape is so versatile. You will be able to find it as a bright, dry wine or as a lush sparkler. Looking for a little more fruit? Chenin Blanc comes in an off-dry style. Looking for something decadent? The grape produces downright “nectar of the gods” sweet wines. The most notable wine production areas are in South Africa, America, Argentina, and France. Chenin Blanc grows throughout the Loire Valley of France in a variety of styles. This offering from Domaine du Petit Clocher may be my favorite white this summer. It is bright and lean, with heady aromatics of musky white floral and ripe apricot. The palate shows tart green pear and stone fruit notes of nectarine and yellow peach. It is acceptable to enjoy this summer wine on its own, but it is very food friendly. I would pair it with Chinese take-out, a ham and gruyere quiche, or a savory goat cheese tart.
If you like light white wines, but tire of the usual suspects, do I have a wine for you! Allow me to introduce you to Vermentino, an underrated and under appreciated white grape. Vermentino grows throughout Italy. This white grape also shows signs of great promise in California and even in my home state of Texas. So, what is Vermentino like? Think of Sauvignon Blanc…but more complex. Yes, the grape usually produces a light, crisp wine, but that does not mean that it lacks a bit of oomph. You will find a lush palate, with bright citrus fruit acidity, nuttiness, and fresh fruit notes. This Fleur Vermentino comes from the Las Brisas Vineyard in Carneros. Carneros is the coolest area of Napa, tempered by San Pablo Bay, making it a perfect region for focusing on white grape varietals. This beauty has crisp lemon acidity, tart green apple, Tuscan melon, and minerality. Pair this with pan-fried rainbow trout, grilled Italian pork sausage, and burrata cheese.
Jermann Pinot Grigio
Now we go from an underrated varietal to a (perceived) overrated varietal, Pinot Grigio. Look, I’m the first one to admit, there is some bad…very bad Pinot Grigio out there. This white grape is drunk by plenty of people, but it doesn’t excite many, especially wine geeks like me. While an Italian mainstay, Pinot Grigio is grown in most wine regions around the world. I love offerings from France, the New Zealand, and Oregon. Yet, Italy is where it is best known, and some areas and producers take this grape to another level. That is why I recommend Jermann Pinot Grigio. I promise you, this will not taste like the everyday varietal you usually drink. It is bright, forceful, and complex. It is creamy and spicy. It shows exotic notes of rose petal and vanilla bean. To be frank, it’s freaking delicious. Take my word for it, this wine will change your mind about this maligned varietal. Pair with seafood, creamy pasta, and mountain cheeses from Italy Switzerland.
Les Copains d’Abord Gamay Le Premier Soir
Finally, a red summer wine!!! You’ve been waiting with diligence to get here so I won’t mince words. Gamay is your new favorite grape. The majority of wine drinkers overlook this varietal. This is criminal! Those “in the know” adore this grape and sing its praises to the heavens. Why will you love it? You like Pinot Noir. This is Pinot’s little brother. You like wines with fruit. This grape shows a lot of juicy red fruit notes. You like affordable wines. Most Gamay-based wines are under $20, many under $15. My favorite thing about Gamay? It shows best with a slight chill, making it a refreshing summertime red. You can find Gamay based wines from California, Oregon, Canada, and New Zealand. But the Beaujolais region France is its birthplace and where you will find a variety of styles. I implore you to sample from all the different appellations in this region. This offering is dry and fruit-forward. It shows cherry, raspberry, and dried cranberry notes. The fruit has an earthy, almost soil-like darkness and perfumed floral notes. Think simple fare when pairing food with a Gamay wine. I like pairing this with herb-roasted chicken, ratatouille, or a nice, ripe brie.
Giroflé Douro Tinto
This is the biggest wine on our list and is from one of my favorite countries to find an affordable wine, Portugal. Portugal is famous for Port, the sweet dessert wine that has pleased generations. But this country does make quality dry red and white wines, many at very affordable prices under $20. This is a traditional blend of Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, and Tinta Barroca. The combination makes for a juicy, rich red with lots of flavors. There are fruit notes of black cherries, blackberries, and plums. This rich fruitiness fades into earthy notes of cigar tobacco, cocoa, and rich tannins. This is a wine that I will pair with a nice grilled New York strip, Texas-style BBQ, or an aged cheddar.
There you go, five affordable summer wines to beat the heat . Whether you favor white wines or red, or a fan of both, you will be quite happy with all these fantastic gems. Enjoy!
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