After a long winter and rainy spring the official start to summer is finally here. It is time to celebrate the summer solstice with the perfect white wine, rosé or even some red wines that take well to a bit of chilling. Whether your ideal day is relaxing in the summer sun or exploring other outdoor activities, you will enjoy it even more with these affordable and exceptional wines.
Von Donabaum 2016 Grüner Veltliner (Burgenland); $13, 91 points.This wine leads with lovely touch of flint, accentuating its green pear and lemon zest aromas. On the palate, it’s light and dry, with a phenolic character that lends both texture and structure, adding complexity to all the freshness.—Anne Krebiehl
Vinum 2015 Chenin Blanc (Clarksburg); $14, 91 points. This exciting, refreshing, superbly balanced wine has crisp green apple aromas and lively, almost electric lemon, lime and cucumber flavors. It’s a great choice for lunch or with an appetizer course, since it’s sure to get the conversation—as well as the appetite—going. Editor’s Choice. —Jim Gordon.
Villa Maria 2016 Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc (Marlborough) $14, 90 points. A consistent standard-bearer for the variety as expressed in Marlborough, the 2016 Private Bin boasts ample red currant and pink grapefruit aromas and flavors, perked up by a touch of leafiness. It’s medium-bodied and perhaps a bit rounder and softer in the mouth than some, but finishes dry and stony. Best Buy.—Joe Czerwinski
Estancia 2015 Pinot Grigio (California); $12, 88 points. This wine has a personality that’s both crisp and satisfying. White pepper and light earth aromas lead to tempting peachy flavors and an appealing texture that balances tanginess and richness. The blend includes small portions of Chardonnay, Albariño, Gewürztraminer and Orange Muscat. Best Buy.—J.G.
Baron De Ley 2015 White (Rioja); $10, 87 points.Fleshy apple and peach aromas lead to a medium-bodied palate. Standard flavors of stone fruits are nice but simple, while this blend of Viura and Malvasia finishes with light notes of apple and nectarine. Best Buy.—Michael Schachner.
Bohigas 2015 X Xarel-lo (Catalunya); $13, 87 points. Light aromas of mango, melon and lime are quiet but clean. This is a simple but fresh white with a crisp stony mouthfeel. Easygoing flavors of melon and apple finish with a note of lime as well as a hint of wheaty yeast.—M.S.
Franchetto 2015 Soave; $14, 89 . This savory white opens with toasted nut, mature apple and citrus zest aromas. Mirroring the nose, the round, juicy palate doles out ripe apple, peach and candied tangerine flavors with moderate freshness. A bitter almond note graces the finish. Best Buy.—Kerin O’Keefe.
Lakewood 2015 Chardonnay (Finger Lakes); $14, 88 points. Slightly pressed tones of apple and pear are accented elegantly by vanilla and caramel in this big-bodied but elegant wine. Brisk acidity lends a spry tone to the midpalate, drawing out a lemony-fresh finish.—Anna Lee C. Iijima.
Espelt 2006 Corali Garnacha (Empordà);$10, 91 points. This is the type of rosé that once you get started on it you can’t put it down. Ethereal smelling, pretty to look at and gracefully balanced: when Spain gets it right with its Garnacha, a case in point being the ’06 Coralí, the pleasure quotient is high. The bouquet here is wet and inviting, the palate lusty and elegant. Beyond that there’s a full mouthfeel, juicy acidity and length. It’s all here. Best Buy. —M.S.
Château Sainte-Béatrice 2016 Instant B Rosé (Côtes de Provence); $13, 90 points. Under the same ownership as Château Roubine, this estate has old vines, some up to 60-years-old. The wine is rich and with concentration as well as a crisper edge. It is full of red-berry fruits, sharpened with red-currant acidity. This is a ripe wine that will be better from late 2017. Best Buy.—Roger Voss.
Charles & Charles 2016 Rosé (Columbia Valley (WA)); $12, 89 points. A blend of Syrah (60%), Grenache (17%), Cabernet Sauvignon (10%), Mourvèdre (10%), Cinsault (2%) and Counoise, this wine is very pale yellow-pink in color. It offers appealing aromas of orange rind, citrus and strawberry. The palate is dry and quite tart, loaded with citrus flavors. It brings a lot of enjoyment. Best Buy.—Sean P. Sullivan.
A Mano 2016 Rosato (Puglia);$10, 87 points. Made with 75% Primitivo and 25% Aleatico, this has intense aromas suggesting white rose, crushed herb, Mediterranean scrub and wild berry. Mirroring the nose, the vibrant, easy-drinking palate offers sour cherry and orange zest alongside zesty acidity. Best Buy.—K.O.
Barnard Griffin 2016 Rosé of Sangiovese (Columbia Valley (WA)) $14, 87 points. Electric pink in color, the aromas are light, with notes of cherry, strawberry and herb. It drinks dry with tart elegant fruit flavors that linger.—S.P.S.
Angeline 2016 Rosé (California); $13, 88 points. Crisp and dry, this bright pink wine is classically styled, showing apple skin aromas and lively grapefruit flavors. Made from Pinot Noir, it’s light and appetizing and has a solid, mildly grippy mouthfeel. Best Buy.—J.G.
Acrobat 2016 Rosé of Rosé (Oregon); $14, 89 points. Dry and succulent, this brings tangy flavors of rhubarb and raspberry into focus. It’s made for picnic foods—could anything be better with fried chicken? This is widely available and scores a bullseye if your target is a summer sipper. Best Buy.—Paul Gregutt.
Red Wine to Chill
Esterházy 2015 Zweigelt (Burgenland); $13, 89 points. Fleshy red cherry fruit bursts from the glass. The palate has corralled the abundant fruit into an easy, fresh and appetizing package, with a medium body and smooth texture. Best Buy. —A.K.
Not all great wines can be under $15 but check out four grapes and four bottles that make for excellent red wines to chill on a warm day. Hey, it’s summer. Splurge and live a little.