The Wines of Summer

Some ‘Magical’ 
and ‘Radical’ Picks

This time of year makes me think of one of my all-time favorite musical groups, The Cars, and a giant hit from them, “Magic”. Sing it with me now: “Summer, it turns me upside down. Summer, summer, summer … it’s like a merry-go-round.”

Ah, the ‘80s … what a totally radical decade. In this article, I hope to give you some “magical” and “radical” wine picks for enjoying while the weather is hot. But I also bring up my questionable musical tastes for another reason: Wine, like music, is a personal thing. As I’ve said many times before, I am not an expert at tasting or picking wine for other people. And also, I’m every bit the expert at tasting and picking wine for other people as most anyone else.

My point being, I’m happy to recommend some wines that I like to drink. I hope you appreciate the effort, and maybe try one or more and find that you like them, too. But I don’t understand how anyone could say Ric Ocasek and the boys weren’t one of the best bands of all time, even though some of my closest friends never shared my love for the new wave quartet who provided the soundtrack for my entire junior year at Moore High School. But, then again, those same friends swore by Bartles & James and Boone’s Farm, so what do they know?

Some folks have asked me how I pick the wines I recommend. Do I get free product or payment for promoting one wine over another? Have I drank every wine in my store to determine the best ones? Am I a wino who has found a way to profit from my bad habit? The answers are no, almost, and only God can judge me. Truth is, I do get to taste a lot of wine for free, compliments of the men and women who would like me to carry their products at Moore Liquor. I also personally enjoy trying new wines as well as drinking some old favorites. So I try and find wines that I think are interesting, appropriate for the season and perhaps something you normally would not think to buy because you’ve not seen a creepy animatronic kangaroo in a multi-million-dollar ad campaign about it or it doesn’t appear on the wine list at the Cheesecake Factory or show up in the one aisle dedicated to the mass-marketed swill they sell at the Gainesville Walmart.

Most importantly, I look for wines that are worth what you pay for them. Between you and me, there are fantastic wines for less than $30 all over the place these days, even some great ones below $20. You just gotta know where to look. And, since you’re already looking here, allow me to suggest these three excellent white wines for summertime enjoyment:

Heritance Sauvignon Blanc
$17.97 for 750ml bottle
13.5% ABV
This not-as-well-known Sauv Blanc comes from the Napa Valley. The reason I love it for this time of year is because it’s clean, crisp and pairs exceptionally well with grilled foods. Many experienced wine drinkers would say this grape is preferable from New Zealand or France, but California has gotten much better at it recently and this is a superb example of how far they’ve come.

Champalou Vouvray
$22.12 for 750ml bottle
12.5% ABV
Vouvray is a very versatile white wine. It’s food-friendly and also drinks fine all by itself. Vouvray is a region in France known for the Chenin Blanc grape. I like this wine for summer because it embodies classic Vouvray flavors like white peach and apple with some interesting minerality. Although technically a dry wine, it finishes with a light sweetness that makes it much more drinkable in warm weather than a Chardonnay or other drier whites.

White Knight Prosecco
$16.59 for 750ml bottle
11.0% ABV
This pick gives us something that goes perfectly with summer: bubbles! Yes, you can drink this light, dry effervescent wine straight out of the fridge, but mix it with OJ and you get fabulous mimosas. And we all know mimosa is the Italian word for “excuse to drink before noon.” So, go ahead and enjoy this wine from Northeastern Italy as an aperitif or as part of a fruit-heavy brunch.

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Good wine and good wishes!