When choosing wines for summer barbeques, outdoor parties or impromptu picnics, it’s easy to fall in the habit of picking the same bottle over and over. But summer is a time for exploration. So to help spice things up, we’ve chosen our favorite whites and reds from around the world. These may not be the first bottles you think of, but these are the alternative summer wines you’re going to want to have on hand for refreshing sips.
Trapl 2015 Reserve St. Laurent (Carnuntum); $26, 94 points. Tender notes of cherry inform the nose of this translucent St Laurent. The palate is gentle and taut, favoring aromatic cherry notes and straying far more into freshness and grace than power. A subtle spine of tannin stays in the background and lets the elegance of this wine to shine. Dry Farm Wines. —Anne Krebiehl
Dalrymple 2015 Pipers River Pinot Noir (Tasmania); $44, 93 points. From a consistently great producer, the 2015 Pipers River offers a wealth of aromas: sunbaked earth, dried leaves, sea spray, cocoa nibs and just-picked forest fruit. The palate is light and elegant, with soft but structured tannins and a cinnamon spice tone. It’s totally approachable now but could age another five to seven years if you can bear to wait that long. Drink 2023–2025. Editors’ Choice. Negociants USA, Inc. —Christina Pickard
La Barge 2015 Albariño (Sta. Rita Hills); $60, 91 points. Intriguing and unique aromas of lemon oil, sandalwood, incense and sea salt make for a distinct take on the grape from the Central Coast. The palate is racy while also nutty, showing Meyer lemon pith, hazelnut and a kiss of wood. Very savory and interesting wine. —Matt Kettmann
Block Wines 2016 Old Vine Gnarl Block Rothrock Vineyard Chenin Blanc (Yakima Valley); $20, 90 points. Old-vine Chenin Blanc is rapidly slipping away in Washington as growers rip out vines for more profitable varieties. It’s a shame as it can excel here, as this wine shows. Coming in at an almost unheard of alcohol level for the state, aromas of poached pear, apple, lees, citrus and spice are followed by bone-dry, sleek, tart flavors with a lemony finish. The acids are downright racy. It needs some food alongside it to be properly appreciated but it delivers. Editors’ Choice. —Sean P. Sullivan
Kvaszinger 2016 Estate Furmint (Tokaj); $23, 90 points. Aromas of honeysuckle and jasmine carry the nose. The palate is bright in flavors of pineapple, lemon zest and apricot, with a crisp, clean finish. —Jeff Jenssen
A.A. Badenhorst Family Wines 2015 Ramnasgras Cinsault (Swartland); $40, 90 points. Notes of rosehip, clove, nutmeg, red currant, rhubarb and wild strawberry all abound on the nose and mouth in this fresh, vibrant wine. Fine tannins lend a soft structure to the medium-weight palate, with bright acidity providing freshness and levity. Hints of Dr. Pepper and tart red currant ride out the mouthwatering close. Drink now–2021. Broadbent Selections, Inc. —Lauren Buzzeo