Summer is on the horizon and many of us are eagerly planning our whimsical weekend celebrations and easy going dinner parties to kick off the jovial weather. Whether you’re planning a romantic night in for two, or inviting the neighborhood to a shared meal, your wine selection will compliment any good time. From Italian-inspired reds to after dinner sangrias, these eclectic spirits are easy on the wallet and sure to impress your guests.
Two Lands Shiraz – Jacob’s Creek
Jacob’s Creek Australian-inspired Shiraz, a fruity red wine, is an oaky finish best paired with steak, ribs, and other beef dishes. Although this wine is on the heavier side, its California winemakers use a series of inventive techniques, including wild yeast fermentation and late harvesting, to fully capture the fruit’s flavor.
Montepulciano d’Abruzzo – Tempesta di Stelle
This affordable Italian staple, produced just east of Rome, features hints of cherry, vanilla, and sage with a spicy twist. Aged for a minimum of six months in the Apennine mountains, the chalky red wine is sure to enhance any dinner party. Its dark, opulent taste is best paired with rich Italian dinners, such as heavy pasta dishes and red meat.
California Pinot Noir – The Pinot Project
It can be exceptionally difficult to find a moderately-priced California Pinot with full-priced flavor, but The Pinot Project answers the call. Infused with a cherry cola flavor, this red wine goes best with salmon, roasted chicken, and beef dishes.
Cabernet Sauvignon – Grayson Cellars
This smooth, earthy Cabernet Sauvignon features hints of plum, blackberry, cherry, and spice in a robust California red wine. Grayson Cellars’ 2016 Lot 10 edition, like most red wines, goes well with sinewy Italian, meat-heavy dinners.
Zinfandel – Rex Goliath
Blended with hints of mocha and fruit, Rex Goliath is ideal for a quiet night in with a smoked, creamy pasta dish and a cerebral Netflix drama. This brawny-flavored wine, blended throughout California’s vineyards, has the potential to put you in an introspective mood.
Sangria – Madria
This flavorful fruit wine makes an ideal base for a blended beverage at a mid-afternoon summer foray. Toss berries, sangria and ice into a blender for a light cocktail. Available in both red and white, Madria offers a full flavor at half the price of similar sangrias.
Moscato – Cupcake
California’s central coast is home to Cupcake Vineyards, one of the country’s most visible producers of dessert wines. A delicate, sweet flavor to top off any dinner, this white wine is the embodiment of what wine lovers have come to appreciate about moscato. Lower in alcohol content than other, more rich wines, Cupcake Moscato makes the perfect dessert to an amiable brunch with friends, but goes best with fresh fruit or a slice of cheesecake.
Urban Riesling – Nik Weis
Upon popping a bottle of this Urban Riesling, you’ll be treated to aromatic hints of apricot, tangerine, and apple. This tart but fruity wine includes traces of honey, greatly expanding its drinkability. This riesling can be paired with a number of light meals, and goes well with vegetarian dishes.
Rosé – Dark Horse
Blended with notes of strawberries, brown sugar, and rosemary, this light California wine pairs well with lighter cheeses and proves a reliable companion at wine and cheese parties.
Canoe Ridge Rosé – The Expedition Columbia Valley
Canoe Ridge’s light, dry Rose includes notes of watermelon and citrus. Aged three months in Washington state’s Columbia Valley, this style of wine is best as a standalone sipper, but pairs well with salads, light pastas, seafood, and cheeses. Try the 2016 edition at your next get together.