Summer means crisp, refreshing cocktails and, for many of us, wine. The season is also a great time to explore new wines from new areas and turn your palate to the lighter side of the vino spectrum. We are not suggesting you give up your red wine; just think about going a little “lighter.” As for your whites, think outside the chardonnay box and explore the many other varietals out there. Kenny Andreozzi, from Commonwealth Tap in Norton Commons, is our go-to when picking out wine. He curated this list of 10 great summer wines for us, all of them under $30. All are affordable, refreshing and a perfect pairing with summer food.
The StyleBlueprint 2016 Summer Wine Guide
This California sparkling wine is a blend of white and red, but exactly which white and red is unknown. No worries, as this sparkling wine is a hit, made by the popular Bedrock Wine Company out of Sonoma County, CA. It’s fruity, effervescent and crisp, and it is “bone dry” and not as sweet as prosecco. Kenny recommends drinking this in the morning, at lunchtime and during celebrations. $26.99
Bucher Rosé of Pinot Noir
This wine is made by a family that owns a dairy farm in the Russian River Valley in Sonoma County, CA. They grow grapes on the side, and though they only produce a small amount of wine each year, what they produce is top notch. This is a rosé of pinot noir and is a brand new wine for this brand. Kenny calls it — and all rosés actually — a “red drinker’s white” or a “white drinker’s red.” Take your pick on the category, but rosé is a kind of wine everyone needs to try. $27.99
d’Orsaria Pinot Grigio
Translated as the Italian word for “the bear,” this wine comes from the far northeastern region of Italy by Slovenia. It is a high-quality, organic pinot grigio, a variety of wine that is classically soft, approachable, crowd-friendly and on the sweeter end of the spectrum. For this reason, it’s safe to serve to a crowd and very easy to drink. $13.99
Lagar de Cervera Albariño
Kenny describes this wine as a great lunchtime wine that pairs well with sandwiches and salads. Albariños are a variety of classic white Spanish wines that are aromatic, dry and fruity. It is aromatic like a sauvignon blanc and easy to drink like a pinot grigio, making it an all-around great wine to serve or to drink on your own. $11.99
Sean Minor Sauvignon Blanc
Like all sauvignon blancs, this is highly acidic, highly aromatic and practically bursts from the glass. It has notes of tropical fruits, honey and flowers, and its crisp taste pairs perfectly with anything citrus, such as lemon chicken or anything grilled in a citrus marinade. $13.99
Gysler Scheurebe Halbtrocken
This is a German grape, a popular German wine and it’s very hard to pronounce. It is deceptive because when you smell it, you think it is sweet like a riesling, but it actually tastes very dry. Enjoy this wine freezing cold; it tastes like “summer in a glass.” Kenny recommends drinking a glass of this while you wait for the grill to heat up. Word to the wise, it comes in a tall, green liter bottle and can be mistaken for a bottle of sparkling water. $14.99
This is another great “waiting to grill” drink that is perfect with lighter meals, such as salads or chicken. Viognier tastes like chardonnay with a kick, with notes of apples, honey and flowers on the palate. It is dry, soft and easy to drink. $10.99
Derived from the garnacha grape in Aragon, Spain, this is a very popular export. It is a fruity, light, red wine that works well with pork and other grilled meats. It is great to serve to company for dinner, especially with a little chill on it. It is an inexpensive summer wine that is easy to drink. $8.99
Clendenen Family Vineyard’s “The Pip” Pinot Noir
Kenny’s favorite wine of the bunch, which comes from the Santa Maria Valley near Santa Barbara, CA, is made by Jim Clendenen, who Kenny refers to as the “master of pinot noir” in the United States. At $29.99, it is the most expensive wine on the list, and it is also the most elegant of the bunch. This wine is so good that Europeans drink it, and they are notorious for not drinking American wines. $29.99
P-Oui Pinot Noir
This play on words — P-Oui/peewee — refers to the size of this half-bottle of pinot noir, from the famed Willamette Valley in Oregon. Made by Mouton Noir wines by sommelier and wine producer André Mack, it comes from a winery known for its fantastic selections. The half bottle is great for one person, and though small in stature, it is by no means a peewee in taste. $19.99
A big thank you to Kenny Andreozzi at Commonwealth Tap for curating our 2016 Summer Wine Guide.
Did you know that if you had the SB App, you could access all of Commonwealth Tap’s information right at your fingertips? You could call Kenny directly and have him reserve a bottle of something for you. Download it here for free and have access to this and so many other local businesses. Enjoy the best of local Louisville!