Wine is a workhorse. From amplifying the flavor of food, to helping us de-stress, reviving romance and lending a celebratory hand at any occasion, vino is constantly on call. Ultimately it should also quench your thirst— at least to some degree — especially during the summer.
While only water can truly hydrate, the following wines will make you feel refreshed, cleanse your palate and not weigh you down with too much alcohol, sugar, oak or malolactic fermentation. Check out these notable whites and rosés, which are food-friendly and easy-to-drink for summer.
J Winery Brut
There’s never a bad time for bubbles. J’s Cuvee 20 Brut NV has nuance and depth, with a balance between delicate fruit notes and creamy complexity. Fresh summer salads unfold into an amazing experience when paired with equally bright J Brut Rosé (photo at top) with watermelon and strawberry flavors and cleansing effervescence.
Price: $38 Buy it: Spec’s, Kroger, Total Wine & More, Randall’s
J Winery 2015 Pinot Gris
With notes of candied pineapple, lemongrass, peach and jasmine, this wine is fruit forward with flavors of yellow apple, pear, lime and a hint of minerals. Its crisp acidity makes it ideal for pairing with manchego cheese or chilled melon gazpacho.
Price: about $18 Buy it: Spec’s, Kroger, Total Wine & More, Randall’s
Matua 2016 Sauvignon Blanc
Pioneering New Zealand winemaker Matua has released a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc with new thermographic label technology. The Chill Check labels activate as a bottle is chilled to optimal drinking temperature and the label changes color. This classic Sauvignon Blanc is refreshingly pure with tropical fruit, ripe citrus and a hint of fresh basil.
Price: about $12 Buy it: Kroger, Spec’s, Total Wine & More
Meiomi Coastal California 2016 Rosé
Meiomi has expanded its portfolio with its first-ever rosé. Dry, crisp and tangy, it defies the sweetness of some rosés and dances on your tongue like a Sauvignon Blanc. It’s refreshing with a lush mouthfeel, stone fruit and strawberry flavors, and a cool minerality on the finish.
Price: about $24 Buy it or try it: Salt Air Kitchen, D’Amico’s Market, Liberty Kitchen & Oysterette
Chateau Montelena 2016 Potter Valley Riesling
This newly released wine will change your mind about Riesling (right, photo above). It’s so fragrant with orange blossom, honeysuckle and rose, you could almost wear it as perfume. The palate is complex with ripe melon and lemon curd, plus notes of quince jam and clove. It’s balanced with enough acid and suppleness to pair with many foods.
Price: about $25 Buy it or try it: Eddie V’s Seafood, Fleming’s, Back Street Cafe, La Griglia, Brennan’s, Kroger, Spec’s
Illahe 2016 Gruner Veltliner, Oregon
Expect enticing aromas of dried peach, honey crisp apple, fresh herbs and cedar. On the palate are flavors of red grapefruit, graham cracker and nectarine with balanced acid and a strong mouthfeel.
Price: about $16 Buy it: Spec’s, Whole Foods
Harney Lane 2016 Albarino
This Lodi, California, winery crafts an award-winning Albarino that tastes twice its price. Mouth-wateringly juicy, this Spanish varietal showcases citrus and stone fruit (nectarine, peach, apricot, pear) notes. The crisp acidity is balanced with full-bodied fruit. Pair with raw shellfish, a summer salad, grilled lime chicken, grilled fish, fresh cheese or olive tapas.
Price: $20 Buy it: Spec’s, Total Wine & More
Coppola Votre Santé 2015 Chardonnay
Inspired by Francis Ford Coppola’s grandmother, Maria Zasa, this California Chardonnay is made in a Burgundian-style from grapes sourced near the chilly Pacific waters. The cool growing conditions bring out the vibrant peach and honeysuckle character, making it quaffable and food friendly.
Price: about $12 Buy it or try it: Spec’s, Kroger, La Griglia, Grotto
A to Z Wineworks
Oregon’s best-selling wine brand produces a wide variety includes a zesty Pinot Gris with loads of fruit, full bodied enough to hold up to grilled chicken and spicy fish tacos. Their unoaked Chardonnay is full of succulent flavors including Meyer lemon, honey crisp apple, nutmeg and honey with a clean bright finish. Pair with seared tuna or butter-poached crab.
Price: $15 Buy it or try it: Spec’s, Kroger, McCormick & Schmick’s
Edna Valley, 2015 Central Coast Sauvignon Blanc
Suprisingly affordable, this classically grassy California Sauvignon Blanc displays juicy notes of grapefruit, lime and minerality. It goes down easy with seafood dishes and salads, or just sip it poolside on a sun-kissed day.
Price: about $14 Buy it or try it: Spec’s, Fleming’s, Del Frisco’s Steakhouse