We've certainly had some awesome weather this summer, haven't we?
Remember all the pouting and complaining about those wetter-than-normal months during the spring? That seems like a distant memory as we head into the thick of a beautiful summer.
Warm, sunny weather means chilled wines are the order of the day. I've got plenty of new domestic and international recommendations for you today in a variety of price points for every budget.
At the $10-and-under range are two choices from Portugal. The Aveleda 2013 Vinho Verde (about $7) is a lighter-bodied white wine with gentle flavors of green melon and a crisp, citrusy finish. The coral-hued Casal Garcia 2013 Vinho Verde Rosé (about $8) also makes an excellent summertime wine when slightly chilled. Its opening raspberry aromas and flavors transition into more of a savory, leaner style with tangy watermelon and cherry tomato on the finish. Enjoy either vinho verde with a pairing of sole, crab or chicken.
Mouton Cadet really impressed me with a couple of their current releases from France's Bordeaux region. The 2012 Sauvignon Blanc (about $11) is vibrant, flavorful and extremely well-priced. There's a bit of herbaceousness to lead off with an air of fresh field grasses and clover. Brighter citrus flavors of grapefruit and Meyer lemon come through on the mid-palate, while touches of honeydew melon and peach appear on the extreme finish.
Also notable is the 2013 Rosé (about $11), which combines the traditional Bordeaux varietals of merlot, cabernet franc and cabernet sauvignon in a heady rosé interpretation. The nose is both floral and fruity, while a flavor profile of bright red currants and berries really shines through from start to finish.
For a nice change from ordinary sparkling wines, try the Marenco Non-Vintage Pineto Brachetto d'Acqui (about $19). The brachetto grape is essentially the red version of the Moscato d'Asti white grape; so, as you might expect, this is a fragrant, fruit-forward wine. It's made in a slightly effervescent, frizzante style that gives the wine a lovely, creamy texture. Wild strawberries instantly come to mind while tasting, and at only 5.5 percent alcohol, it's easy to enjoy while pairing with a light dessert. Unique and delicious.
Kramer Vineyards in Gaston, Ore., also has a trio of newly released sparkling wines under the Celebrate! label designation that can be ordered online at kramervineyards.com.
The 2013 Müller-Thurgau (about $22) has Fuji apple and kiwi flavors and a touch of marshmallow crème; while a virtually colorless 2013 Pinot Gris (about $22) features gentle pear and apple flavors and an off-dry finish.
My favorite is the brilliant pink 2013 Rosé of Pinot Noir (about $24), with candy apple and marzipan aromas, bright pie cherry flavors to start, and a finish that suggests strawberry cream.
Dan Radil is a wine enthusiast who lives in Bellingham. Reach him at www.danthewineguy.com.