Summer is here, the time for outdoor dining, barbecues and pool parties. When the temperature rises, I like to serve crisp and refreshing whites that beat back the heat, and food-friendly reds that are worthy of the masterful grilling taking place in my backyard. Here are a few of my favorites for every budget.
La Marca Prosecco
This versatile Italian sparkling wine features bright flavors of citrus, baked apple and subtle floral notes. Soft bubbles and balanced acidity make this an ideal summer sipper. Pair with mild cheeses, fresh fruit, salads and seafood.
Edna Valley Sauvignon Blanc
Located just five miles from the Pacific Ocean, Edna Valley Vineyard has one of the longest and coolest growing seasons in California. This allows the grapes to slowly mature while creating the perfect combination of optimal ripeness and acidity. Lively flavors of citrus, melon and kiwi lead to a crisp, refreshing finish. Pair with shrimp scampi, goat cheese salad and chicken stir-fry with asparagus.
Le Grand Noir Rosé
Rosés are the quintessential summer wines. Le Grand Noir is a refreshing, fruity yet dry rosé, with fragrant aromas of strawberries, citrus and red currant. It pairs well with a wide variety of foods and is quite quaffable on its own. You may not be jet-setting off to the South of France this summer, but sitting on the patio with a bottle of róse is the next best thing!
Hahn Pinot Noir
Juicy flavors of ripe strawberry, cherry and plum are balanced with soft tannins and mouth-watering acidity. This pinot noir is always a crowd-pleaser and pairs well with everything from grilled salmon to mushroom risotto. Hahn wines are produced from five vineyards located in the Santa Lucia Highlands and Monterey County appellations. This region boasts the most varied climatic conditions of any region in California.
Frei Brothers Reserve Zinfandel
As far as I’m concerned, nothing is better than good barbecue (maybe that’s why I opened Lee’s Korean BBQ). One of my favorite wines to pair with barbecue is Zinfandel. Frei Brothers makes a great one from Dry Creek Valley with jammy flavors of blackberry, dark cherry and chocolate followed by notes of spicy oak and velvety tannins. Frei Brothers is passionate about their wines as well as their land. They have been earth-friendly farmers for 30 years and are certified sustainable winegrowers.