IT IS TIME to break out the summer wines. The desire to find a crisp and refreshing quaff to drink on your boats or for the patio has me scrambling to the cellar and the local wine store. The thought of drinking a glass of heavy red wine right now feels just that – h e a v y.  So what are we left with?  I turned to a customer insights specialist at LCBO for a prediction of the top five wines under $10 that will be top sellers this summer, and they came back with the following list. I have prepared personal tasting notes and food pairing suggestions.

 Barefoot Cellars White Zinfandel $9.95 (California Rose)

Liz’s tasting notes:  tropical aromas of pineapple and citrus. Flavors of strawberries and pears intensify the smooth, crisp finish – this wine is a perfect accompaniment to sweet or spicy foods

Misterio $7.95 (Argentina Malbec)

Argentina’s signature red variety.  Liz’s tasting notes: The nose has aromas of dark berries, has lots of plummy flavour, undertones of vanilla oak with supple tannins – serve with grilled steaks, and other grilled meats  

The Beach House $9.95 (South Africa Sauvignon Blanc Semillon)

Liz’s tasting notes:  Wow – what a find! Dry, crisp with delicious citrus notes yet smooth and very easy drinking – matches with seafood, salad, chicken, fish, white meat, or drink as a aperitif
Cono Sur Viognier $9.95 (Chile White)

Liz’s tasting notes:  Intense aromas of lush peach, melon and floral orange blossom on the nose.  Medium acidity, with a touch of mineral.  Food, or no food!. Overall quite a good everyday New World Viognier – great wine to serve chilled and to pair with salads, spicy dishes, seafood, white meats, and fruit-based desserts

 Ogio Primitivo $8.85 (Italy Red)

Liz’s tasting notes:  Aromas of spicy black cherry, plum, vanilla and lilacs. Spicy, mineral and black fruit flavours – an excellent match for pasta dishes

 Many other fantastic summer wines are available such as Muscadet and Vouvray from the Loire Valley, Pinot Gris from Oregon and Gewürztraminer from Alsace. Try lighter red wines slightly chilled or trying tawny port over ice with just a little soda water as is fashionable in the town of Oporto in the summer. The ultimate guideline as to the best summertime wine will be your own!

                                                                                                                             by Liz Palmer

Apprentissage Sommelier