Wines under $20 to celebrate summer's last hurrah
Summer's not over yet! We have one more month to enjoy those light reds, whites and rose summer wines. From beachside to barbecue bottles, Leslie Sbrocco shares easy-to-drink wines for the last of the summer heat – all for $20 or less.
From end-of-summer weddings to parties and other sun-filled soirees, these two elegant wines taste -- and look – like they cost twice-the-price. They’re ideal options to give as gifts.
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Mionetto Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG, Italy $16-17
Prosecco is known as “The Welcome Wine” in Italy because it’s served first to arriving party guests. From one of the region’s classic producers, Mionetto, this fruity yet complex sparkling wine is made from Glera (called Prosecco) grapes grown in the bucolic hillside village of Valdobbiadene in northern Italy. Not only is the bubbly inside delicate and delicious, the bottle is stylish so you’ll want to show it off.
Frescobaldi is a revered name in Italian wine with history dating back 700 years. Hailing from sangiovese grapes planted on the hillsides of the Castello di Nipozzano – a centuries old castle – in Tuscany, this structured red is an Italian beauty. Dark fruit flavors combine with earthy, spicy aromas in a wine that is the perfect partner for grilled summer steaks.
Grab these bottles, but don’t worry about the corkscrew because they’re twist offs! For outdoor summer vino there’s nothing better than light whites and refreshing roses for a good time at the beach or on a picnic.
2012 Dr. Loosen “Dr. L” Riesling, Mosel, Germany $10
Riesling is like bottled sunshine. This zippy, off-dry white is packed with juicy fruit flavors and a touch of sweetness making it an ideal match with warm-weather fare, from fresh fish to light salads and fruit desserts. It pairs well with salty picnic food, too, so bring on the chips and popcorn.
2013 Bodega Ontañon "Vetiver" Rosado, Rioja $13
Most wine drinkers think of the Spanish region of Rioja for classic reds, but sipping insiders know it’s a terrific place to find both white and pink wine values. Ontañon is one of the region’s stars and makes classic wines in all colors. This rosado is made with 100 percent tempranillo grapes and is succulent and stylish. You’ll want to stock up on it for summer-to-fall sipping.
Bordeaux and BBQ:
Summer means barbecue and one place to look for wines to complement anything off the grill is the region of Bordeaux. Located on France’s western seaboard, it’s a spot where both seafood and steak are showcased. Many think of Bordeaux only for its famous, expensive First Growth Chateaux, but it is home to some of the best-value wines on the market today. Look for “Bordeaux” or “Bordeaux Superieur” on the label for quality and affordability.
2013 Mouton-Cadet “le Rosé” Bordeaux, France $10
Part of the portfolio of wines of the famous Baron Philippe de Rothschild, the Mouton-Cadet wines offer value with a recognizable name. This roséis light, dry-styled and oh-so delicious. Sample it with spicy fare for barbeque pairing perfection. Or, simply pour it alone and enjoy poolside.
This red blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon is smooth and layered with red berry flavors and a spicy kick. Crafted by historic producer Chateau Roquefort (meaning strong rock, not the cheese). Though the winery itself in an ancient place in the Entre-deux-Mers region of Bordeaux, it’s making sleek, modern-styled wine we love.
Food pairing tip: When you offer sausages or meats off the grill to your guests, slice and serve them with a selection of wine-based condiments like the my favorite spicy Sriracha, Jojo’s Sriracha Ravenswood Zinfandel Chili Sauce and tangy mustard such as the Dijon from Maille.