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6 affordable summer wines for beaching and barbecuing

Thought Leader: Leslie Sbrocco
July 15, 2022
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With summer in full swing, wine expert Leslie Sbrocco shares some of her favorite picks to bring to the beach and crack out with barbecue fare. These affordable and surprising sips — from dry pinks to crisp sparkling to succulent reds — are sure to please.

Beach wines

Alloy Wine Works Chardonnay, Central Coast, California, $6 per can

When you’re headed to the beach and want to enjoy libations while lying in the sun, grab a can of wine. There’s been a proliferation of wines being packaged in cans in the past few years and there are plenty of choices to imbibe. I like the versions from Alloy Wine Works. Its Chardonnay is juicy and soft with vibrant yet creamy notes, reminiscent of ripe apples with a kick of lemon.

Freixenet Cordon Negro Brut Cava, Spain, $12 per bottle

Cava is Spain’s famed sparkling wine and one of the world’s favorite is Freixenet’s Cordon Negro Brut. Its iconic black bottle is a familiar sight on store shelves. Now the brand is making it available in to-go friendly single serve bottles ideal for beachside and poolside sipping. Made with local grapes such as Macabeu, Xarel-lo and Parellada, it’s crisp, dry and oh-so-easy to sip. Put the mini bottles in a cooler, grab some straws and go.

Barbecue wines

2021 Ultimate Provence Rosé, Côtes de Provence, France, $22

There’s no better wine to sip on a summertime weekend than a refreshing rosé. It’s the perfect partner with grilled fish tacos and summer salads. Packaged in an upscale bottle that channels French style, this pink is ultra-elegant and succulent. Crafted from a marriage of grapes led by Syrah and Grenache, the unique grape Rolle rounds out the blend. The winery is in the south of France just 30 minutes from the town of Saint-Tropez. There’s a boutique hotel and restaurant onsite and you could win the trip of a lifetime to visit Provence by entering on its website.

2019 Bar Dog Pinot Noir, California, $14

Searching for an affordable red to pair with summer fare from the garden or the grill? This is one to seek out. A medium-bodied pinot with red berry notes and juicy, mouthwatering flavors, this pick from Bar Dog Wine tastes even better with a little chill. The easiest way to cool down a bottle quickly is dip it in a bucket of half water and half ice for about 20 minutes. It will bring out the best in the wine and keep you refreshed on warm days and nights at the barbecue.

2020 Luigi Bosca, Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina, $20

When ribs slathered in sauce or sizzling burgers topped with mushrooms are on your menu, it’s time to reach for a red with substance and style. Malbec from Argentina is the answer. This classic brand delivers great bang for your buck. I call it a twice-the-price wine worthy of stocking up on for summer sipping. An historic producer, Luigi Bosca dates back four generations and brings to life the expression of Malbec grown high in the region of Mendoza in the Andes mountains.

Surprising summer sip

2018 L’Erta di Radda, Chianti Classico DOCG, Italy, $21

Most people who enjoy Italian wine know the reds of the famed Tuscan region of Chianti Classico. It’s often thought of as a winter wine for sipping fireside or with braised meats. Guess what? As a year-round red, you can put it on your roster for summer drinking. It pairs beautifully with grilled meats but is an ideal match with a grilled zucchini casserole layered with marinara sauce and cheese. This complex, sleek and lively bottle hails from the historic sub-zone of Radda in Chianti and is aptly named “L’Erta di Radda,” or the “steep slopes of Radda.”

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