6 Essential Summer Wines for Chilling and Grilling


A selection of wonderful wines perfect for summer.

During the heat of the day I lean towards crisp white wines and the occasional rose' wine. As the day winds down I prefer a chilled red wine with my grilled steak. I'm here to help you select wines suitable for your summer fun and meals.

We've already had a lot of heat in the Columbia Valley, so I've had the opportunity to taste and pair these wines in summer like conditions. These are some of my favorite wines which I have enjoyed over the last few years. They are essential wines, wonderful for building your summer menu and sharing with friends. All of these bottles should retail for less than $20 each and are terrific values. My list includes three white wines, one sparkling rose' and two red wines.

I have a full tank of propane and a patio prepped for relaxing, so I'm grilling it up outside all summer! Grab some of these wines and experience an essential summer. Cheers!

6 Essential Summer Wines Tasting Notes


1. Les Charmes 2013 Chardonnay Macon-Lugny, France

Color: Straw gold.
Nose: Toasty pear, mineral,
Palate: Fresh pear, creamy feel on tongue, brioche, pleasant acid back of palate, medium-light body, nectarine and pear into the fresh finish. Easy drinking at open, lighter approach, a wonderful opening wine or pair with light appetizers.

At 15 minutes: Pretty and delicate nose, less toasty, stone fruit, floral/honey, orange blossom, almond shell, mineral. Creamy, fresh palate, suggestion of honey, hint of nuttiness, essence of pear/nectarine, pleasing texture on teeth and tongue, tasty medium-short finish. Big like. Patio sipper, add sea view or sunset. Craved seafood, shrimp cocktail, steamed crab, clams.

At 30 minutes: Pear, orange blossoms, mineral, tangerine, hint of nuttiness on nose. Round on palate, interesting, tangerine, pear, fresh, focused mid-palate, delicate nuttiness, zippy finish, acid more present at front palate, balanced, pleasant medium finish. My speed. Still craved seafood, Halibut, Sea Bass, Trout would be lovely company. A bit more sophisticated at this point.

Day two: Mild creaminess, pleasant texture, gentle nuttiness, delicate stone fruit, kiss of lemon, polished finish. Wonderful sipping wine. Food not needed.

Thoughts: Can you say patio wine? Wonderful sipper at open and excellent choice for seafood and shellfish. The longer it was open, the more sophisticated and appealing. Displace the heat of the day with the comfort of this delicious French white wine. Recommended.


Closure: Screw Cap
ABV: 13%
Sample provided by Pasternak Wine Imports


Cave de Lugny is a cooperative of 250+ wine-growing estates and 1,500 hectares in Burgundy-Maconnais. The single vineyard soil is characterized as chalky/limestone, the vines average age is 40 years old. The majority of this vineyard is planted to “Musk Chardonnay” a sub-category of the Chardonnay varietal (a clone).



2. Dashwood 2014 Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand

Color: Pale, shiny gold. Pretty.
Nose: Wow! Grassy, grapefruit, lime, kiwi, vanilla cream core, whiff of petrol. Big like.
Palate: Good weight, some texture, almost creamy, acid most noticeable on finish, lime, white grapefruit, kiwi, grass, petrol, most of the action up front. Tasty fresh finish.

After two hours: Mineral rich nose with grapefruit and lime. Savory, fresh herbs, salinity, grapefruit rind, lime, acid slide down the palate, dry on tongue.

Day two: White grapefruit, lime, grass on the vibrant nose. Wow. Delicious on the palate, balanced, supple, lively, citrus, savory, tart, dry, delicate herbs, with a grassy mineral finish. Pow! Perfect for a shrimp boil, Tilapia, and steak salad. Very good.

Day three: Lime baby! Grassy mineral, predominantly lime on the palate. Zingy, fresh, creaminess added to body, fantastic lime finish. Bring on the salty foods.

Dinner pairing with Dashwood Sauvignon Blanc. Especially tasty with mixed-greens salad.

Thoughts: Alone, enjoy a glass or have a fantastic pairing with a mixed-greens salad. Delicious on day two and ready for seafood. A Serious Sauvignon Blanc ready for summer. Taste the beauty of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. When I think Sauvignon Blanc, I immediately think New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. I also think Dashwood Sauvignon Blanc - Dashwood is one of the wines responsible for my New Zealand wine epiphanyStrongly Recommended.

Grilling it up all summer long!

Closure: Screw Cap
ABV: 13%
New Zealand Sustainable Wine Growing
Sample provided by Pasternak Wine Imports

Dashwood Wines/Vavasour Wines
Phone: 03 575 7481
Fax: 03 575 7240
Email: info@vavasour.com


The Dashwood brand was developed by Vavasour Wines in 1989. It provided flexibility within the company’s portfolio to have the Dashwood range as a blend of fruit from Marlborough’s Wairau and Awatere Valleys. Created by long-standing winemaker, Glenn Thomas, who joined Vavasour in 1988, Dashwood wines are made in an earlier drinking style than those carrying the Vavasour brand.



3. Saget La Petite Perriere 2014 Sauvignon Blanc, France

Color: Shiny, silver-gold.
Nose: Mineral, fresh, wet river rock, delicate pear, lime, light toast.
Palate: Juicy pear, green apple, lime, tartness, focused mid-palate, fresh across the palate, lime on the medium finish, appealing patio sipper. Think water, sand, chill time.

At one hour: More acid, zippy across the tongue, green apple, unsweetened pear juice, dry on top palate, light lemon into the finish. Lighter bodied wine perfect for summer. Pair with light appetizers and white fish.

Day two: More citrus on the nose, delicate white grapefruit, fresh herbs. Surprising grip back palate, lemon/lime, white grapefruit at front, dry texture on the tongue, mineral note on the crisp finish. Honeyed finish once the wine warmed. Big Like. Enjoyed how this wine drinks, tannin on the tongue created an interesting contrast to the fresh flavors and finish. A little fat would work with this wine. Tried with salami and was compatible. A flexible wine day two, drink alone or pair with a multitude of foods. Very Good.

Thoughts: A delicate sipper at open suitable for the patio and lighter fare. Showed off on day two, enjoyed with steak, rice, kimchi, avocado, lettuce, flour tortilla. Very compatible and dinner was delicious. This wine should drink well over the next three years. Strongly Recommended.


Closure: Screw Cap
ABV: 12.5%
Sample provided by Pasternak Wine Imports


Saget La Perriere
9th generation Family owned and managed Loire Valley winery.

The Saget family is among a handful of estates enjoying three centuries of vineyard and wine production. The modern Saget approach brings together crus and terroirs, vintages and cuvees from the Loire Valley in France. They have 890 acres to vine, six estates and long-term contracts with family owned vineyards. They create and blend a range of Loire Valley wines. An approach more closely associated with new world wine production. When you drink Saget La Perriere, you are tasting a more complex expression of the Loire Valley.



4. Lucien Albrecht Crémant d'Alsace Sparkling Brut Rose', France 

Color: Elegant melon pink. Inviting. Pretty bubbles.
Nose: Fresh, lightly toasted strawberries, honey, melon, edged with citrus, appealing.
Palate: Fun bubbles, focused, very tasty, strawberries, rhubarb, wonderful flavor down the palate of sparkling raspberry, citrus on the finish, lively in the mouth, bit of tartness pulled it together. Big like.

Thoughts: Satisfying sparkler. Zero complaints. Big pleasure from this bottle. This bottle emptied quickly and was tasty alone and with grilled steak. You don't need an excuse to enjoy a bottle of the Lucien Albrecht Sparkling Brut Rose'. Wonderful wine and one of my favorite sparklers. Find some and enjoy. Thank me later. Strongly Recommended.


Closure: Natural Cork
ABV: 12%
Sample provided by Pasternak Wine Imports


Lucien Albrecht
 9, Grand'rue • 68500 Orschwihr-France •
Tel. +33 3 89 76 95 18 • Fax +33 3 89 76 20 22

Crémant d'Alsace is an Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée for sparkling wines made in the Alsace wine region of Northeast France. Produced since 1900, the Crémant d'Alsace AOC was recognized in 1976 by the INAO and the designation Crémant regulated by the European Parliament in 1996. Allowed varieties are limited to riesling, pinot blanc, pinot noir, pinot gris, auxerrois blanc and chardonnay. For rosé wines, only pinot noir is allowed.



5. Aruma 2013 Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina

Color: Bright ruby.
Nose: Lively, earthy cherry, cinnamon, rose petal, focused.
Palate: Fresh cherries, cinnamon, dark spice, focused to front, acid, modest tannin tip of tongue.

After 15 minutes: Tannin across tongue, acid more present roof of mouth, dark cherry, creaminess, medium light body, roses, candied, bit of tar and dark chocolate into the medium short finish. Serve gently chilled.

After 30 minutes: Dried cherry, dried cranberry, dried candy roses, nice texture with some creaminess, balanced into a happy finish. Touch exotic. Like.

Day two: Oak treatment more evident on palate with hint of chocolate and dry cherries. rose petals, sour cherry, fresh plum, and tar on the nose. Good weight, pleasant texture, friendly cherry and plum finish, not as exotic as day one, very drinkable. More my speed.

Thoughts: A food friendly Malbec from Argentina. Paired with fried pork steak (salt, pepper, garlic, EVOO, vinegar, cumin, coriander, liquid smoke, beef broth). Serve gently chilled this summer and enjoy with meats off the grill. Recommended.


ABV: 14%
Closure: Nomacorc
Sample provided by Pasternak Wine Imports


Aruma is produced in Argentina’s Mendoza region, by Nicolas Catena of Bodega Catena, in partnership with Barons de Rothchild (Lafite). Catena is one of South America’s largest wineries. "ARUMA" means the "night" in the language of the Quechua, the native Indians of the Mendoza region. I like the sound of "Aruma" and how it rolls off the tongue- Aruma.



6. Amancaya Gran Reserva 2012 Malbec Cabernet Sauvignon, Argentina 

Color: Great color. Bloody garnet.
Nose: Dark cherry, smoky note, focused, earthy edge, complimentary oak, blackberry, chocolate.
Palate: Good mouth feel, medium body, dark cherry, bright notes, cranberry, chocolate, creamy edged, nice grip mid-palate, boysenberry, cassis, dry, grippy finish with prune and dried cranberry chocolate, fresh acid spike. Well done. Have to grill a steak for this wine.

At 15 minutes: Nose had chocolate, coffee, black cherries, hint of nutmeg, white peppercorn, dry sage, vimto. Smooth, black cherries, sandalwood, dry on gums, concentrated black currant, action focused to mid-palate, bakers chocolate and dry cherries on finish.

At 3 hours: Served with dinner, grilled steak, mushrooms and sweet pepper. Tasty pairing. Dark cherry, earthy elements, mushroom, coffee, tied together elements of the tender steak and umami of the mushroom. Tannin coated tongue and cleared palate. Served chilled. Big satisfied smile. You, the grill, some steak and this wine, this summer. Marvelous.

Day two: Spirited, lively back palate, red fruit shined, juicy across palate, medium tannin pleased, cherry, blackberry, dark chocolate, coffee, mint, quite tasty, medium-long finish. Very good. Drink alone or pair with red meat.

Thoughts: You, the grill, some steak and this blend of Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon, this summer. Marvelous after 3 hours. Very good on day two. You can enjoy red wine on hot summer days and nights. Remember to serve chilled on those hot days. Go find this wine, it's a lovely vintage. Strongly Recommended.


Blend: 54% Malbec, 46% Cabernet Sauvignon
ABV: 14.5%
Closure: Natural cork.
Sample provided by Pasternak Wine Imports


Amancaya is produced in Argentina’s Mendoza region, by Nicolas Catena of Bodega Catena, in partnership with Barons de Rothchild (Lafite). Catena is one of South America’s largest wineries. A rewarding collaboration. The Amancaya is a flower of the Andes, worn by native Indian women of Mendoza.


A big thank you to Pasternak Wine Imports for providing me samples of these wines. They have truly become annual favorites at my home. Discover the taste of true value this summer. Leave me a note about your impressions of these wines. Have a safe and fun summer full of good wine, food and friends!


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