You know I always love a trip to NYC and the Today Show to hang with my ladies, Kathie Lee and Hoda Kotb. This time, I was with my old partner in crime, Ray Isle from Food and Wine, and we showcased our favorite summertime wines. From sparkling wine in a can and day drinking whites to sultry summer night reds and even wine in a box, we have something for everyone when the temperatures soar.
Ray’s pick: Wente Morning Fog Chardonnay, Livermore Valley, California, $18, Wente Vineyards
This peachy, full-bodied Chardonnay from America’s oldest, continuously operated family-owned winery (founded in 1883) stays crisp thanks to the cool growing season in California’s Livermore Valley.
Leslie’s pick: 2017 Mar de Frades ‘Albarino Atlantico’, Rias Baixas, Spain, $20, Mar de Frades
This is one of my top summer whites because it’s the epitome of refreshing. Made with northwestern Spain’s famed Albariño grape variety and features floral aromas and a crisp citrusy flavor. An alluring ocean-blue bottle makes it as attractive to look at, as it is delicious to drink. Pair it with fresh fish to capture the feel of being alongside the water.
Ray’s pick: Cosentino ‘The Dark’ red blend, Lodi, California, $20, Cosentino Winery
A rich red from Lodi, this peppery, plummy blend of Petite Sarah, Petit Verdot and Cabernet is dark (appropriate, given the name) and luscious, ideal for a date-night dinner.
Leslie’s pick: 2015 Shooting Star Zinfandel, Lake County, California, $14, Steele Wines
Winemaker Jed Steele has been crafting top Golden State wines for nearly 50 years and his experience shows in this affordable yet complex red. Hearty and full-bodied with a spicy kick, it’s the wine to ease into night when served alongside grilled meats and rich pasta dishes.
Ray’s pick: Ah-So Rosé, Spain, $19 for 4 cans, Ah-So Wines
Spain’s Navarra region produces the Garnacha grapes for this vibrant, refreshing rosé. Chill down a few four-packs of these cheeky pink cans for your next beach party — or for anywhere that glass bottles aren’t welcome.
Leslie’s pick: House Wine Brut Bubbles, American wine, $6 per can, House Wine
How often do you take bubbles to the beach? Now you can with House Wines sparkling in a can. Easy to quaff with juicy flavors that are crafted in a dry-style, this fizz is pure fun.
Ray’s pick: Beso de Sol Sangria, Spain, $20 for a 3-liter box, Beso Del Sol Sangria
Sangria in the summer is one of Spain’s great contributions to the world! Made from Tempranillo together with the flavors of Spanish oranges, lemons and a touch of cinnamon, this juicy, all-natural sangria — delicious over ice — is also low in alcohol than regular wine (about 8.5 percent) and in calories, too (only 74 per serving).
Leslie’s pick: Bota Box Dry Rosé, California $25 for a 3-liter box, Bota Box
This is the first boxed wine that I’ve truly fallen in love with sipping. Usually, I drink wines-in-box for the convenience, but this wine is simply succulent. Dry yet fruity with pink grapefruit and strawberry notes, it’s a wine to pair with everything … or nothing at all. The 3-liter box size stays fresh for up to a month and containing the equivalent of four bottles per box, it’s a value at around $6 per bottle. You’ll want a box in your refrigerator the whole summer long.