Recently one of my girlfriends suggested I write a blog on summer wines as we’re right in the thick of those “dog days”. So as I am not a big wine drinker I quickly deferred to Rudy Fratto, my son’s very good friend who also happens to be an Account Manager for Breakthru Beverage Group in Cicero, Illinois . I requested wines from several price points. Here’s what he taught me:
La Marca Prosecco $15.99 average price – this is an absolute monster! Very well rounded, not sweet, classic Italian sparkling with a light crisp finish. This brand is owning the sparkling category; 1 out of every 2 bottles sold in the Chicago market is La Marca. Perfect for every occasion and it over delivers on quality. (I do like Prosecco so that’s why this is first on the list!)
Roses: This is a HOT category. Everyone has gotten into the Rose game in the last few years and surprisingly there are a lot of good brands out there. When Rudy thinks Rose, he thinks light, dry, balanced, nice acidity and a crisp finish. If you are looking for Roses that drink like this taste profile, “French Provence” Rose is what you want to look for on the bottle.
Fluer De Mer – $18.99 – top classic French Provence style – “porch pounder” dry, light and very easy to drink – extremely refreshing cold! 90 pt rating – top choice in the market
Whispering Angel – $18.99. This is #1 in the market French Style – very popular choice
Locations Rose – $19.99 – Dave Phinney is a industry legend. Creator of Prisoner’s Red Blend which he sold to Constellation Brands for 285 million dollars in 2016 (everything he touches turns to gold) French Style Locations is a more affordable everyday option vs. his more expensive complex line called Orin Swift.
YES WAY Rose – $9.99 – really cool story on this brand and how it was started – excellent everyday Rose option at a great price.
La Crema Rose – $18.99 – everything produced by this winery is fantastic and consistent
KJ Rose – $12.99 is a really good value.
Dark Horse Rose – $9.99 a top seller in the Chicago Market
Summer Reds are a big category. Here are Rudy’s top four:
La Crema Sonoma PN – $20.99 – very consistent 90+ point wine that is light and delicate. You can find it anywhere, drink with pizza or a nice dinner – super universal, one of Rudy’s favorites for chilling at home or bringing to a friend’s house. Amazing with cheeses, fresh cut meats, burgers,and pizza.
Domaine Serene Yamhill Pinot Noir -$50-55 this wine is amazing. Produced in the Willamette Valley in Oregon, very approachable and worth the spend. Enjoy this one chilled in a Burgandy style wine glass! Excellent with mushrooms, mozzarella, tuna, burgers.
Orin Swift Papillon – $55 Bordeaux Blend – 94 pt rating, one of Rudy’s favorite wines out right now. The winemaker Dave Phinney’s story is unbelievable and his artwork is brilliant. Classic style Bordeaux, excellent spice and perfect choice with dinner . it’s full-bodied, firm and finely grained, it has a seamless structure supporting the elegantly played fruit, finishing on a lingering menthol note. This is a dinner wine that pairs well with steak, lobster, Asian, spicy, and salty.
Louis Martini Napa $30 – 92 pt rating has aromas of cedar chest, toast, plums and herbs with a waft of florals. Medium to full-bodied, firm and chewy, it has nice purity and a long finish. Solid universal cab.
White Haven Sauvigon Blanc – Quintessential New Zealand Sauv Blanc $15 (amazing value) – perfect summer everyday wine 94pts – Pear, apple and citrus flavors are juicy and appealing, set on an elegant and smooth frame and nice acidity/crispness – Chill and drink now! Pairs well with fish, pasta, sushi and does great without a food pairing as well.
J Vineyards Pinot Gris – $18 (90 Pts.) Hints of minerals on the nose and ripe fruits and honeydew flavors on the palate add up to a substantial and well-balanced wine. Bright acidity lends a tangy undertone. Another great summer option, very light, bright and refreshing chilled. Pairs great with seafood, sushi, chicken, lamb, and Italian.
So in summary here is the list of great summer wines:
Sparkling: La Marca Prosecco
Roses: Fleur De Mer, Whispering Angel, Location’s Rose, Yes Way, La Crema, KJ Rose, and Dark Horse Rose.
Summer Reds: La Crema Sonoma Pinot Noir, Domaine Serene Yamhill Pinot Noir, Orin Swift Papillon Bordeaux Blend, Louis Martini Napa.
Summer Whites: White Haven Sauvignon Blanc and J. Vineyards Pinot Gris.
Almost every one of these choices were available at Binny’s. Okay wine drinkers how did I do? Please let me know if any of these are YOUR favorite. Happy wine drinking!
P.S. And finally I want to send a BIG THANK YOU to Rudy Fratto Account Manager of Breakthru Beverage Group for all this current and wonderful information! You’re THE BEST!!! XO