entertaining

Throwing a summer soiree? Try these tasty, affordable wines

June 11, 2014 at 11:00 AM ET

Summertime is around the corner and you know what that means: it's party time! So whether you're throwing an outdoor bash or an indoor get together, wine expert Leslie Sbrocco and Food and Wine's executive wine editor Ray Isle share the perfect pours for your summer soiree. The best part? These wines are much more affordable than they taste! 

Video: Ray Isle of Food and Wine magazine and Leslie Sbrocco, author of “Wine For Women,” share their picks for the perfect wines to pour at your backyard barbecue, formal dinner party and other summer events.

Outdoor entertaining

She said: 2013 Apaltagua Carmenere Rose, Central Valley, Chile $10

If you're looking for a refreshing summer sipper to go with everything, this is it! You can serve it poolside, beachside or tableside. Made from carmenere — Chile's signature red grape variety — it's aromatic and juicy with succulent flavors of red berries and spice. But because it's dry, it works beautifully with a variety of dishes from grilled fish to spicy sausages and burritos to curried chicken. It's one of my favorite summer wines.

He said: 2011 Kris "Heart" Rosso, Italy, $12

This northern Italian red is a great summertime entertaining option. A blend of merlot, montepulciano and cabernet sauvignon, it has an abundance of juicy berry flavor, but is light enough that it also tastes great when chilled down slightly during hot weather.

Formal party

He said: 2012 E. Guigal Côtes du Rhône Blanc, Rhone Valley, $14

This succulent French white tastes more expensive than it is, making it an ideal choice for more formal indoor entertaining. A blend of viognier and marsanne grapes, it's light enough to go with fish dishes, yet substantial enough to go with lighter meat courses, too, which makes it perfect as an all-purpose dinner party pour.

She said: 2012 Kim Crawford Pinot Noir, South Island, New Zealand, $15

Blending grapes from the cool climate areas of New Zealand's South Island such as Marlborough, Central Otago and Nelson, this elegantly-styled pinot noir captures red berry fruitiness and a splash of spice. It's widely available and affordable and makes party-meal pairing easy as it saddles up smoothly to salmon, beef or vegetable-based entrees.

Bubbly

He said: NV Laurent Perrier Champagne Brut LP Real Champagne, $35

From northern France's Champagne region, this one costs more than other sparkling wines, but the price pays off in quality. This citrusy, complex bottling from Laurent Perrier, the largest independent, family-owned house in Champagne, would be perfect for any toast you could imagine.

She said: Chandon Blanc de Noirs "American Summer" sparkling wine, California, $8 (for .187 size)

This mini-me sized bottle (perfect for sipping from a straw) is dressed up in a limited-edition summer design of red, white and blue. The sparkling wine inside the decorative bottle is fruit-driven but dry, making it ideal to drink alone poolside or with spicy fare such as grilled shrimp. There's also a companion outdoor serving tray designed by Jonathan Adler to pair with the bubbly. Both are one-of-a-kind and make your summer entertaining very stylish. 

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