Here are five tremendous values for summer sipping, including a top-notch Italian rosé and two charming organic values from Sicily. Add a robust red from Portugal and a reliably delicious chenin blanc from South Africa, and you’ve got a party.
Cavalchina Bardolino Chiaretto 2015
This is a scintillating rosé, with cherry, pomegranate and raspberry flavors, rather than the more typical watermelon or strawberry. Although 2015 was a ripe vintage, this wine walks the razor’s edge between acidity and sweetness. The tension is electric.
Barão de Vilar Reserva 2011
The Douro region, homeland of port wines, enjoyed a stellar vintage in 2011. Most of the nonfortified table wines have long since been sold, so here’s an opportunity to snatch up a bargain that has the added advantage of extra time in the bottle. This wine has a good pedigree, too: It’s made by Alvaro van Zeller, of a prominent Douro winemaking family. It’s rich and hearty, as Douro wines tend to be, so pair it with smoky meats off the grill.
Masseria del Feudo Grillo 2015
Grillo is a white grape common in Sicily, so of course it makes a great wine for Mediterranean-inspired foods. This example, made from organically grown grapes, is exotically citrus, like the love child of a blood orange and a Meyer lemon.
Masseria del Feudo il Giglio Nero d’Avola 2015
Nero d’Avola is Sicily’s best-known red wine. It strikes a happy medium between the rich, spicy flavors of syrah and the weight of Beaujolais. This organically grown Nero tends toward the lighter style. Don’t be shy about chilling it, but be forewarned: It goes down all too easily.
Ken Forrester Wines Petit Chenin Blanc 2015
South Africa is known for its chenin blanc (sometimes called steen), and this entry-level example from a noted producer in the Stellenbosch region shows why. It’s not particularly complex; we need to pay more for top examples. But it is delicious and refreshing.