Must-try Summer Wines: Bubbles, Rosé and More!

Looking for an amazing addition to your pool party, backyard bbq or summertime soiree? Check out my favorite picks then watch my time in the 8 o’clock hour at the Today Show!

Rosé All Day:

Americans have finally discovered the joy of rosé. Drinking pink is one of the hottest trends in wine with double-digit growth. These garnet-hued beauties can be made in myriad styles resulting in wines with a whisper of color or those more intensely pink. Most rosés are dry and crisp, while blush wines and those dubbed ‘white’ (as in white zinfandel) tend to be sweeter. With flavors ranging from delicate strawberry and citrus, to juicy red berry and spice, there’s a pink for everyone to drink.

2016 Minuty ‘M’ Rosé, Cotes du Provence, France $20

Packaged in a curvaceous, sexy bottle, this classic rosé hails from southern France’s Provence area. One of the top producers in the region with a rich history dating to the 19th century, Chateau Minuty is known for elegance, quality, and class. A pale-hued pink with floral aromas and peachy flavors, the ‘M’ is a Marvelous summer sip.

2016 Forty Ounce Rosé, France $16 (one liter)

A bang-for-your-buck bottling, this Gamay-based wine captures the essence of a sunny day in the French countryside, but with an American twist. New York-based sommelier, Patrick Cappiello, joined forces with French vintner, Julien Braud, to create this light-hearted pink that’s high on tongue-in-cheek style.

2016 Summer Water, Central Coast, California $19

A collaboration of Yes Way Rosé and Winc, the Summer Water is an easy-drinking pink that says it all with the name. I prefer to drink rosé over water on most summer afternoons anyway, and this wine pairs with dishes from grilled salmon to fruit salads. (If you join their wine club, the price goes to $15.)

2016 Tablas Creek ‘Patelin de Tablas’ Rosé, Paso Robles, California $24

Who said rosé can’t be a serious sipper? This one most certainly is. Primarily Grenache grapes blended with other Rhone varieties such as Mourvèdre and Syrah, it’s an aromatic, mineral-laden pink. Though Californian in birth, Tablas Creek is French at heart with the famed Perrin family of Chateau de Beaucastel involved.

 

Beach Bound or Poolside?

These selections are lower in alcohol than other wines offering quaffable fun in the sun.

 

Barefoot White Wine Spritzer, California $9 (four pack)

Barefoot Wine is among the top selling wine brands in the world. The reason? Good wine at great prices wrapped in a feel-good vibe.

Everyone wants to dump the shoes and walk barefoot in the sand. Now, you can do it with can in hand. This slightly fizzy tin-of-fun is a blend of Chenin Blanc and Symphony grapes topped with carbonated water, making it an ideal beach companion.

La Grande Courtâge Rosé and Brut, Sparkling Wine, France $7 (per 187 ml)

Want to upscale your outdoor imbibing? Reach for a mini from La Grande Courtâge. A French sparkler made by a Californian, Tawnya Falkner, the brand is an ode to the marriage of French and American culture. It’s a unique option for those wanting to indulge al fresco. Just add a straw, then sit back and relax.

Eppa Red Sangria, California $10

Ringing in at a mere 9 percent alcohol, this super-Sangria is organically-grown red wine blended with organic juices including pomegranate, blueberry, and blood orange. The refreshing red is ideal over ice with sliced fruit. Enjoy a pitcher poolside and let summer begin.

 

Global Grilling with Latin Flair:

From Spain to South America, these selections bring a little heat to dishes hot off the grill. There are no rules when it comes to pairing white wine with fish and red with meat, but if a spicy shrimp platter or Cajun-rubbed chicken breast is on the menu, reach for one of these two mouthwatering coastal whites to tame the fire.

 

2015 Ritual Sauvignon Blanc, Casablanca Valley, Chile $15

 

A classic pairing with fiery fare is Sauvignon Blanc. This citrus-scented version is made from grapes grown in cool-climate vineyards on Chile’s Pacific Coast. Made by the talented hands of Rodrigo Soto – one of the country’s acclaimed winemakers – the Ritual is a winner for not only warm-weather sipping, but year ‘round imbibing.

2015 Fillaboa Albariño, Rías Baixas, Spain $18

For an exotic take on crisp whites, head to Spain’s west coast to sample Albariño. An Iberian Peninsula grape variety, it explodes with orange blossom aromas and succulent fruit flavors. Fillaboa is one of my top-pick producers from the area of Galicia called Spain’s “land of the sea.” Don your shades and take a virtual vacation in a glass.

 

When barbecue ribs or perfectly-seared rib eye is served, think of these spicy reds to pair alongside.

2014 Clos de los Siete, Valle de Uco, Mendoza, Argentina $20

Made high in the Andes by noted French winemaker, Michel Rolland, this Malbec-driven blend combines Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon in a full-bodied, dark-fruited red that’s supple and alluring. Still sporting elegance, however, it’s an ideal match for steak, steak, and more steak.

 2008 Arinzano ‘La Casona’ Pago de Arinzano, Spain $40

Want to splurge on your next grilling red? Reach for this exceptional bottling from Arinzano. Noted as one of the top estates—or Pagos – in Spain, La Casona is made with the signature red grape Tempranillo rounded out with Merlot. A lush, age-worthy red, it’s a wine to drink with anything…or nothing at all.

 

Summer Holiday Celebrations, American Style:

From July 4th to Labor Day, these American wines with a story to tell are ones to share with a crowd.

 

2016 The Federalist Chardonnay, Mendocino County, California $17.76

With the smashing success of Broadway’s Hamilton, it’s no surprise there is a wine brand celebrating our Founding Fathers and

wine’s role in American history. This oak-kissed, smooth Chardonnay showcases Lady Liberty on the label making it fab for the 4th. The price is what else? $17.76.

2014 Purple Heart Red Wine, Napa Valley, California $20

You can do good and drink well during summer gatherings with Purple Heart. A rich red blend

that’s delicious to sip is one reason to buy the wine, but the other is that annual donations are
made to the Purple Heart Foundation in honor of American military veterans and their families.

Chandon ‘American Summer’ Brut sparkling wine, California $26

Wrapped in a seascape of red, white and blue, this limited-edition bottling from Chandon is a deliciously dry yet fruit-driven sparkling wine. Become part of the #chandonsquad and raise a glass. It’s a top way to toast summer.

 

 

 

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Holiday Picks from Bubbly to Beast and Beyond…

I had a fun chat recently with Kathy Bernard and Barbara Kline, otherwise known as 2boomerbabes.com. We ripped up the airwaves talking about some of my top affordable holiday wine picks.

 SpeakersClick here to download the Podcast

My interview is on 17 minutes into the show, but you can listen to the whole broadcast that included a talk with #1 New York Times bestselling author, Mary Higgins Clark , and Huffington Post columnist, Ann Brenoff, who gives tips on how to age more slowly. (My tip, of course, is a glass or three of wine a day.)

Here are the babes coordinates and my notes on these delicious drinks. Enjoy them in the waning days of 2014 or even to welcome 2015. Cheers!

2BoomerBabes Information: Tune in Saturdays on NPR affiliates, Sundays on commercial talk radio, and Mondays on SiriusXM Radio, Channel 141 at 11 a.m. EST. You can always visit 2boomerbabes.com  or iTunes to hear this week’s show.

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Leslie’s Tasting Notes

Two of my favorite Prosecco producers include the elegant Villa Sandi and the classic sparklers of Mionetto

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Gloria Ferrer, Blanc de Noirs, Sonoma, California $20-22

Gloria_Ferrar_blanc_de_noirsA beautiful sparkling wine based upon Pinot Noir, it’s a bubbly to drink all night long. Crisp enough to whet your palate as an aperitif, it has the power to pair with fish and chicken dishes. In other words…plan on a bottle per person.

2013 Franciscan Estate “Equilibrium” white blend, Napa Valley, California $20-22

FRAN_equlibrium_lowResWhether you’re pairing cheeses, spicy fare or just imbibing a glass to kick off the night, this fruit-driven white is an ideal choice. A blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and a dash of Muscat, it has a hint of sweetness, which is balanced by the brightness of the Sauvignon. A crowd-pleasing wine that satisfies lovers of dry and sweet whites.

 2011 Veramonte “Ritual” Pinot Noir, Casablanca Valley, Chile $21-23

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It’s not easy to find a high-quality Pinot Noir in the $20 range, but this is hands-down my favorite of the year. Crafted from selected parcels of Veramonte’s vineyards in cool-climate Casablanca Valley on Chile’s coastline, it sports ripe berry fruit character with an underlying earthy complexity. You’ll want to stock up on this to sip throughout 2015.

2011 Beast “Wildebeest” red, Columbia Valley, Washington $23-25

Beast_WineFrom one of Washington state’s best producers, Buty (pronounced Beauty), the Beast line of wines is their whimsically-named yet seriously-crafted alter ego. This wild blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Mourvedre, Grenache and Cabernet Franc is layered and lush, but still sports vibrant acidity. A beautiful beast to be sure.

2013 Montes “Cherub” Rosé of Syrah, Colchagua Valley, Chile $14-16

I simply adore the Cherub. You can’t find a prettier bottle to look at than this baby angel from Montes. The deep garnet hue is alluring, but it’s the bing cherry and succulent fruit flavors that will make you fall in love. It has enough heft to offset food with character (braised and grilled meats, for example) but is delicate, too, allowing pairing with ceviche and salads. Forget just holidays, this is a wine to buy for spring, summer, winter, and fall sipping.

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Two other resources to check out for finding and buying these wines:

www.Drync.com

www.Wine-Searcher.com

 

For more holiday picks check out my latest appearance on the Daily Meal’s “Dish with Diane”. Happy holidays!

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What is Leslie Drinking? | Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and Shiraz

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2013 Douglas Green “the beach house” Sauvignon Blanc, Western Cape, South Africa ($9)

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This wine is a crowd pleaser. Nothing serious or stuffy here, just a wine that’s pure fun to sip. Zesty and juicy, it captures a ping of citrusy freshness that makes it a white to drink beachside or tableside with salads, light fish dishes, and spicy cuisine. Make sure to stock up, you’ll drink it quickly.

2010 Robert Oatley Shiraz, McLaren Vale, South Australia ($18)

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Bob Oatley has a rich history in the Aussie wine business having owned the famed Rosemount Estate winery that put Shiraz on American’s wine map. With his current namesake winery, Oatley has taken Shiraz to the next level. This elegant yet still voluptuous red shows what fruit from the marine-influenced McLaren Vale area can produce. A spicy, saucy sip ideal paired with hearty fare hot off the grill.

2012 Light Horse Chardonnay, California ($14)

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This is the kind of Chardonnay you’ll want to sip from poolside to tableside. Expressing ripe fruit notes it also captures the brightness and lightness of Chardonnay. With just a kiss of oak to add complexity, this is a wine for enjoying alone or with a wide variety of dishes from salmon in a mustard sauce to soft cheese topped with spicy chutney. The brand belongs to Jamieson Ranch Vineyards, which has formed the Light Horse Foundation. A portion of all wine sales go to the foundation assisting high-risk individuals afflicted with autism. So, drink well and do good at the same time. I’ll toast to that.

2012 Light Horse Pinot Noir, California ($15)

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It’s a challenge to find good value Pinot Noirs, but this is one of the best values on the market. The Light Horse is well made, well priced and to that I say, “well done.” With characteristic Pinot aromas of floral and spice, along with flavors of red berries and a silky texture, this is a wine you’ll want to drink any day with just about any dish.

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I’ve been asked lately where to find the wines that I suggest every week. I include the websites for the wineries in each post, but if for some reason there isn’t a site to direct you to, try checking out wine-searcher.com, which will help you find a wine importer so you can taste all the delicious wines I recommend!