Refreshing Summer Wines


For our latest round of wine reviews, we asked our national panel of experts to rate refreshing bottles of vino that are perfect for springtime and early summer.

As always, these selections include brief tasting notes, a rating and the wine’s retail price, which can vary from store to store and market to market. Unless noted otherwise, the price reflects a 750-ml. bottle. If you’re a beverage professional with a specialty in wine and you’re interested in participating in the panel, please contact managing editor Kyle Swartz at or 763-383-4400 x2225.

(97) Wine & Soul Guru Branco Douro 2017 (Portugal). This wine has it all going on. Wonderful fruit, good structure and incredible finish. Stunningly delicious now, it can easily be aged. ($45)

(97) Delamotte NV Rosé Champagne (France). An outstanding example of world-class rosé Champagne. Dry, refreshing, food friendly and incredibly tasty. ($92.99)

(96) Yealands Estate S1 Single Block Sauvignon Blanc 2017 (New Zealand). The soft, yet very present grapefruit and touch of grassiness are masterfully intertwined. The marriage of flavors and textures are unmatched in the world of sauvignon blanc. ($29.99)

(96) Bruno Giacosa Roero Arneis DOCG Piedmont 2017 (Italy). From northwest Italy, this arneis is a wonderful example of when a world-class winemaker, famous for nebbiolo-based wines, turns his attention to an indigenous white variety. Texture, weight and great flavors; this wine has it all. ($32)

(95) Mayacamas Chardonnay 2015 (California). Yogurt and tangerine on the nose, leading into Meyer lemon, Key lime, green pear and underripe nectarine on the palate. Great mid-palate weight with a yeast and mineral core that lift the acidity and create a wonderful, balanced finish. This is a stunning example of California chardonnay. ($56)

(95) Malabaila di Canale Langhe Nebbiolo Rosé 2018 (Italy). Pretty in pink! A rosé and white peach nose that follows through on the finish. Delicate with a well-balanced medium-body mouthfeel. Pair with hors d’oeuvres, delicate pasta or white fish. ($16.99)

(95) Rodney Strong Chalk Hill Chardonnay 2016 (California). Subtle minerality is balanced with rich creamy mouthfeel. Barrel fermentation and lees stirring help make this a classic. ($27.99)

(95) Anselmo Mendes Contacto Alvarinho 2017 (Portugal). A gorgeous example of what the iconic alvarinho grape variety can provide. Brilliant gold, with green hints, plenty of stone and tropical fruit on the nose and palate. ($19)

(94) Tenshen White 2016 (California). This California Rhone-style white blend from the Central Coast combines viognier, roussanne, grenache blanc and chardonnay. Aging is 80% in neutral oak for five months, and 20% in stainless steel. Aromas of tangerine and ripe melon lead to flavors of peach and apricot; balanced acidity and juicy honeysuckle accent the finish with a hint of hazelnut. ($17.99)

(94) Chateau Vivonne Rosé Bandol 2018 (France). A floral- and citrus-driven rosé that is beautifully textured with zesty and tangy notes from start to finish. On the palate are lots of ripe red-berry fruits that linger and meld well in this dry rosé. ($18.99)

(94) The Hermit Crab 2016 (Australia). Viognier and marsanne blend seamlessly with lots of mineral and a bit of acid to carry it through. Delicate citrus and stone fruit work perfectly with any steamed shellfish and butter. ($16)

(94) Julien Pilon “Mon Grand Pére Etait Limonadier” Viognier (France). This Rhone wine displays floral notes, sweet almond, ripe apricot and pear that follow the balanced acidity on the finish. The palate is round but not fat; long length. Very elegant and delicate. ($24.99)

(94) Masi Rosa dei Masi 2018 (Italy). From one of the leading Amarone producers, this wine uses some of the same techniques, but is completely different. Elegant, supple and lively, the nose is dominated by fresh berry fruit, the dry palate echoes the freshness, and has a long, elegant finish. ($17.99)

(93) GD Vajra Luigi Baudana Dragon Langhe Bianco 2016 (Italy). This Piedmont is 50% chardonnay, 30% sauvignon blanc, 15% riesling, 5% nascetta. Dry perfumes of stone, flowers and summery grass, with a slightly savory taste on the palate. The splashes of riesling and nascetta add an extra hint of elegance, giving it a long, refreshing finish. ($19.99)

(93) NV Gruet Brut Rosé (New Mexico). An all-time, year-round favorite. Inviting floral bouquet with hints of strawberry. Rich and fruity in a dry brut style. The flavor of berries continues on the palate with a smooth finish. ($17.99)

(93) Left Coast Cellars White Pinot Noir 2017 (Oregon). This lightly straw-grass hued white pinot noir is enticingly fruit-forward, with distinct aromas of white cherry, nectarine, peach, citrus and beeswax. Its rich mid-palate is beautifully framed and focused with flavors of spiced pear, ripe honeydew, wet stone, and a mineral finish.  ($22.99)

(93) Treveri Cellars Sparkling Rosé NV (Washington). This sparkling rosé wine is an intriguing blend of syrah and chardonnay from the Columbia Valley. The wine begins with aromas of rose petals, red cherry and red raspberry. There is nice balance with a slightly sweet undertone of red cherry, pear, red raspberry and pomegranate seeds.  ($14.99)

(93) Bird in Hand Adelaide Hills Rosé 2018 (Australia). Very pale salmon color with a nose of fresh raspberries and strawberries. This is reminiscent of the prestigious rosé coming out of Provence. The palate is delicately fruited, crisp and lively with a nice burst of watermelon and strawberry, leading to a long and focused finish. Superb! ($20)

(93) Chateau Ste. Michelle Dry Riesling 2017 (Washington). Dry, crisp and refreshing style of riesling with fruit flavors, crisp acidity and an elegant finish. Versatile food wine—try it with oysters. ($8.99)

(93) Famille Perrin Côtes du Rhône Blanc Réserve 2017 (France). This gem, a Rhône blend of grenache blanc, marsanne, roussanne and viognier, sees no oak, just aging in stainless steel. Pale yellow, with a nose of fresh floral notes, with fruity aromas of lime, peach and spice. On the palate is a wonderful balance of freshness, roundness and mineral, leading to a long aromatic and tasty finish. ($11.99)

(93) Principessa Gavia 2018 (Italy). A brilliant pale gold in the glass, the nose is bright as well, with plenty of tropical and apple notes. In the mouth, the bright fruit notes provide great freshness. It’s great as an aperitif, or with a wide range of foods. ($16.99)

(93) Rodney Strong “Upshot” 2017 (California). A beautiful summer white sourced from three great AVAs. Predominately chardonnay, but the addition of four other varietal takes it to a very different level. Complex and refreshing. ($32.99)

(93) Herdade do Rocim Mariana Rosé 2018 (Portugal). Using grape varieties better known for port wine production, this is an elegant, focused rosé. Supple on the palate, with wonderfully fresh berry fruit on the nose, and also in the mouth. Exceptionally versatile with its food pairings. ($13)

(93) Pazo Cilleiro Albariño 2017 (Spain). Pale gold, with hints of green in the glass, the stone fruit on the nose and palate provide freshness and lush texture. A great finish showcases the quality of this wine. ($19.99)

(93) Cuvée Eva Blanc (Israel). Produced from white Rhône varieties, the wine is bright, clean and well focused. It dances on the palate, exhibiting great elegance and exceptional fruit. A long, food-friendly finish confirms the wine’s pedigree. ($24.99)

(93) Kanonkop Kadette Pinotage Rosé 2018 (South Africa). Normally a red wine, this rosé version is bright, clean and focused. Lively fresh berry fruit highlights both the nose and palate. The finish is long, and satisfying. ($14.99)

(93) Davis Bynum Chardonnay 2016 (CA). Single-vineyard sourcing, select blocks and five different clones create a beautiful mosaic. Hand-picked at night, and then aged for 12 months in oak. Rich baked apple and hazelnut flavors. Perfect with fresh Gulf seafood. ($31.99)

(93) Mount Riley Sauvignon Blanc 2018 (New Zealand). Vibrant lime and grapefruit aromas, with a weighty mouthfeel that has intense though refined flavors, finishing with a crisp acidity. ($14.99)

(92) Giesen Sauvignon Blanc 2018 (New Zealand). Crisp passion fruit and mango on the nose. The palate is full of minerality and grapefruit. ($12.99)

(92) Rodney Strong Rosé 2018 (California). Strawberry and cream notes lead to a clean, crisp finish. Beautiful color and lighter style make it perfect with Thai or seafood and chicken. ($29.99)

(92) Chateau Ste. Michelle Riesling 2017 (Washington). From the “riesling leader,” this is great example of one of the world’s noble white varieties. Clean and bright, with lots of tropical fruit notes, the finish is long and elegant. ($9)

(92) Condes de Albarei Salneval Albarino 2017 (Spain). Inviting aromas of honey, pear, tropical fruit and a hint of minerality. Creamy and smooth, with a nice zesty finish. ($12.99)

(92) Chateau la Tour de L’Eveque Rosé Provence 2018 (France). Peach and nectarine are all over the nose of this impressive Provence rosé. The palate matches the nose, but there is also a nice grapefruit nose that comes through, along with the mineral backbone. ($14.99)

(92) Courtney Benham Chardonnay Unoaked Napa 2018 (California). Nice Bartlett pear notes on the nose and palate of this Napa beauty. The texture is clean, linear and brightens up the fruit. ($22.99)

(91) Mercat Brut Rosé NV (Spain). Pale salmon pink in color, with zesty aromas of citrus, wild strawberry and fennel. Apple and brioche flavors are balanced on a firm structure of mineral acidity and fine bubbles. The perfect summer sipper. ($15.99)

(91) Alexander Valley Vineyards Chardonnay 2017 (California). Classic Cali chardonnay, with great sourcing, night harvesting and a balanced blending of stainless and oak fermentation. A small percentage of viognier gives it a distinctive floral component that complements the tropical fruit notes ($29.99)

(91) Chevalier de Lafoux Sainte Anne Rosé Cote de Provence 2018 (France). Lots of nectarine and lychee notes in this round yet classic Provence-styled rosé. Mineral-laden and crisp, the texture adds to the complexity and balance of a lengthy finish. ($12.99)

(91) Kudos Chardonnay Willamette 2017 (OR). A fresh and fruit-driven wine with green apple and ripe pear notes. A medium-bodied wine that is crisp and fun, with bright acidity that makes the wine seem lighter than most while also staying flavorful. ($15.99)

(90) La Vuelta Unoaked Chardonnay 2018 (Argentina). Tropical fruit-laden along with green apple and lots of refreshing acidity that holds everything up. This zesty and tangy Mendoza wine is clean, fresh and crisp. ($9.99)

(90) Brin de Rosé Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence 2018 (France). Lots of red berry and citrus upfront in this dry and lean rosé. Nice notes of orange and spices are heavy on the finish in this zesty wine. ($12.99)

(90) Cottesbrook Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc (New Zealand). Bursting with tropical flavors, and displays notes of passion fruit, white grapefruit and pineapple. The intensity of fruit is balanced with bright acidity and a long finish. ($12.99)

(90) Seastone Vinho Verde (Portugal). Classic vinho verde with a signature light effervescence; apple and tropical notes define this wine. The floral notes and laser-like finish that lingers brings everything into a balance. ($9.99)  

(90) Huber Gruner Veltliner Terrassen Traisental 2017 (Austria). A beautiful example of this famed Austrian grape. White pepper, asparagus and citrus before a crisp finish. ($19)

(89) Mosketto Bianco NV (Italy). Peach soda and lychee, with elements of orange vanilla custard, lemon curd. ($9.99)

(89) Alexander Valley Vineyards “Gewurz” (California). A fresh take on this classic varietal, making it easier to pronounce and appreciate. Sourced from an organic small-bock vineyard in Mendocino. All stainless fermentation enhances the great aromatics, crisp acidity and the trademark hint of spice. Perfect for dessert on the patio with a spiced apple pie and Blue Bell ice cream! ($21.99)   

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