Retailers Select Top Summer Wines

For this issue, we asked members of the Beverage Dynamics National Retailer Wine Panel to recommend their favorite wines for summer, including both reds and whites. As always, these selections include brief tasting notes, a rating and the wine’€™s retail price (which varies from store to store and market to market). If you’€™re a retail beverage professional who would like to learn about participating in our panel, call Richard Brandes at 212-353-3832, or email him at rbrandes@m2media360.com.

FIVE STARS

(97) Capture Sauvignon Blanc Tradition 2009 (California). Simply a stunning Sauvignon Blanc, which competes with the world’€™s finest Sauvignon Blancs; very full-bodied, with traditional flavors; there is some citrus and honeysuckle, but they are perfectly integrated into the wine. ($30)

(96) Bontani Vineyards Moscatel de Alejandria 2008 (Malaga, Spain). Made in the dry style of Moscatel, but still retains all the nice floral and sweet tropcial fruit aromas; brilliant acidity on the palate, which contributes to the lush palate and wonderful finish; a truly refreshing and invigorating wine. ($16.50)

(96) Wohlmuth Muskateller Steinriegel 2005 (Austria). Imagine the floral bouquet of a viognier with the full yet mineral mid-palate of a rich riesling along with the citrus finish of a Down Under sauvignon blanc; that’€™s what you get from this true ‘€œgelber muskat’€ from the steep, red slate slopes of Austria’€™s Styria. ($22)

(95) La Cana Albarino 2009 (Spain). For the money, this Albarino is tough to beat; incredibly well balanced on the palate; the lemon zest, tropical fruit, and kiwi fruit are highlighted by its seamless acidity; aromatic, fresh and flavorful. ($12)

(95) Meyer Fonne Edelzwicker 2009 (France). If there is an ultimate spring/summer wine, this is it; gorgeous perfumed nose with a relatively dry finish; from Alsace, and made of 60% Pinot Blanc, 15% Muscat, 15% Chasselas and 10% Riesling. ($16)

(95) Heller Estate Organic Chenin Blanc 2008 (California). Luscious mouthfeel followed by perfectly balanced acidity marry the honeydew, guava and mineral notes and nectarine highlights; cold and crisp on a hot day, this is the winemaker’€™s ‘€œbeer alternative.’€ ($17)

(95) Jakob Schneider Riesling Kabinett Nahe 2009 (Germany). Gorgeous, fresh aromas of peach, pear, and nectarine lead to flavors of those fruits with a nuance of minerality; it’€™s lightly sweet with a crisp lively finish, perfect for warm weather refreshment. ($18)

(95) Vincent Girardin Macon-Fuisse Vieilles Vignes 2008 (France). A marvelous example of Bourgogne Blanc; chardonnay in a classic, traditional ‘€œOld World’€ style; aromas and flavors of under-ripe apple, citrus zest, and subtle hints of chalk and flint all balance perfectly with a bold, lengthy finish. ($22)

(95) Patrick Piuze 1er Cru Chablis ‘€œLes Forets’€ 2009 (France). The ‘€™09 Les Forets has a deep golden color, suggesting this Chablis will have some body; a wonderful bouquet of fresh lemons, marzipan and apples; incredibly complex wine; notes of green apples, pears, a foxy citrus acidity, a decadent umami character, and an ultra-long finish. ($46)

(94) B Cellars Napa Valley Blend 23 2009 (California). A blend of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier; bright intense citrus notes followed by tropical flavors and grapefruit; long, lingering finish with minerals and acidity. ($35)

(93) Illumination Sauvignon Blanc 2009 (California). Lovely floral and citrus notes on the nose and palate, however, it is mouthfeel and elegance that sets this wine apart from its peers; weight is established with partial barrel fermentation and contact with lees. ($40)

(93) Domaine Drouhin Pinot Noir 2008 (Oregon). An outstanding vintage in Oregon has led to an outstanding wine from Domaine Drouhin; lovely cherry and berry components and a great spice element; beautiful now and shows great potential for the cellar. ($45)

(93) Golan (Upper Gallilee) Moscato 2009 (Israel). Aromatic and bubbly, grapey and sweet, while remaining light and not cloying, this refreshing quaff is a perfect lunch choice; a moscato to compare with Italy’€™s best reminds us that Israel is also a great Mediterranean viticultural source. ($15)

(93) Etude Rosé 2009 (California). Estate grown Carneros Pinot Noir gives this elegant rosé hints of strawberries and summer blossoms; treat yourself to a bowl of chilled shrimp and a glass of this. ($16)

(93) Duboeuf Fleurie ‘€œDomaine de Quatre Vents’€ 2009 (France). Deep garnet color; the gamay fruitiness of a well-structured cru Beaujolais like this helps remind us that there are other ‘€œlight reds’€ besides pinot that are great food wines; pair with roast chicken or salmon. ($18)

(92) Alexander Valley Vineyards Rosé of Sangiovese 2010 (California). Fragrant, with hints of violets and strawberries; flavors of melon and raspberries lead to a zesty, refreshing, dry finish; a perfect aperitif, it will complement fish, fowl, light meats. ($12)

(92) Martinelli Sonoma Coast, Charles Ranch Chardonnay 2006 (California). The bouquet is really something, a complex and appetizing mix of tropical melons and other wild fruit aromas, but there is a lightly buttery note adding finesse; the palate kicks off with fresh and juicy fruit, and then it turns soft and velvety, while a leesy note tiptoes in toward the finish; bold and vivacious; superb. ($40)

(92) Aramis Black Label Mclaren Vale Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 (Australia). Spicebox and blackberries on the nose; a well-balanced wine with great depth; a potpourri of dark fruits; cherry, cassis and hints of floral. ($20)

FOUR STARS

(91) Plungerhead Dry Creek Valley Old Vine Zinfandel 2008 (California). This is excellent in the nose, with tea leaf, light spice, subtle oak and a good beam of fruit in the background; forward, bright and juicy on the palate, yet is perfectly balanced with spice notes which create even more interest; rich black fruit compote arrives at the finish which is long and luscious; definitely a grill-friendly wine. ($18)

(91) Shaw+Smith Adelaide Hills Sauvignon Blanc 2010 (Australia). A brigh,t clean peachy nose, dry with beautiful peach notes; grassy notes on the long finish. ($25)

(91) Fuente Milano 2009 (Spain). Delightful blend of Verdejo and Viura; it’€™s like a Pinot Grigio on steroids with a touch of floral tones and creamier finish. ($9)

(91) Willamette Valley Vineyards Whole Cluster Pinot Noir 2009 (Oregon). This wine captures the essence of Pinot Noir without all the baggag; bright plum and soft Bing Cherry notes on the forefront; a great grilled salmon pairing. ($19)

(91) Valserrano Rioja Crianza 2007 (Spain). A modern-style Rioja, showcasing rich oak notes layered with ripe fruit and hints of herbs; intense nose is filled with dark fruit and hints of rose petals, while the palate shows careful aging at the winery, allowing the secondary notes of cassis and cooked black cherries to come through. ($15)

(91) Tolosa ‘€œNo Oak’€ Edna Ranch Edna Valley Chardonnay 2009 (California). Fruity aroma with tropical notes; clean crisp fruit with minerality on the palate; refreshing finish. ($16)

(90) St. Supery Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2009 (California). Beautiful and fresh with aromas of tropical fruit and grapefruit; fresh and crisp on the palate with a satisfying finish; perfect with grilled seafood. ($20)

(90) Joel Gott Unoaked Chardonnay 2009 (California). The Chardonnay fruit is front stage, with soft hints of butter and ripe apple all wrapped up with balanced tannin and acidity; delicious. ($17)

(90) Kinneybrook Sonoma Sauvignon Blanc 2009 (California). Bright flavors of citrus and exotic tropical fruits; guava, pineapple, grapefruit; tangy acidity and crispness make this great pair to with food or by itself. ($13)

(90) Tesoro della Regina Pinot Grigio 2010 (Italy). Crisp and fruit-driven, with white flowers and peach on the nose; tangy apple and pear notes that brighten on the palate, leading into a clean mineral finish. ($17)

(90) Phebus Malbec Patagonia 2009 (Argentina). Vibrant ruby in the glass; aromatic nose of fresh berries and Asian spice leads into a ripe palate of dark fruit and notes of dark cocoa layered with medium tannins; expansive on the finish, carrying the dark berry notes throughout. ($12)

(90) Mulderbosch Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé 2009 (South Africa). This is a great rosé for those people skeptical of rosé; showing an amazing array of flavors from grapefruit to strawberries, this wine remains concentrated and sumptuous through to the finish. ($10)

(90) Val de Sosego Albarino Rias Baixas 2010 (Spain). Clean and vibrant, with a charming acidity that supports the bright tree fruit notes; citrus and herb notes intertwine in the understated bouquet, becoming broader on the palate; finishes with crisp mineral notes. ($15)

(90) Sobon Zinfandel Old Vines Amador 2009 (California). Layers of cocoa, raspberry and berry spice in this full-bodied wine; fresh and fruit forward, this is a ripe juicy wine; big tannins that complement most grilled foods. ($13)

(90) Laurel Glen ‘€œReds’€ 2008 (California). Fire up the grill and serve just about anything with this Lodi blend of Zinfandel, Carignan and Petite Sirah; dark and round fruit with a touch of spice. ($9)

(90) Gazela Vinho Verde 2009 (Portugal). Light, crisp and refreshing; low in alcohol; perfect ‘€œporch pounder’€; great with salads and appetizers. ($6)

(90) Crossings Sauvignon Blanc 2010 (New Zealand). Very nice example of a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc; great fruit with just enough acidity. ($15)

(90) Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc / Viognier 2009 (California). This wine is a go-to crowd pleaser for the summertime picnic, barbecue, or sunset on the porch; it’€™s unoaked, so the purity of the grapes shine through, showcased with a vibrant lychee, dried apricot, melon and subtle lemon character. ($10)

(90) Hob Nob Pinot Noir 2009 (France).Deep cherry aromas with a fresh fruity finish; good value. ($12)

(90) Casillero del Diablo Carmenere 2010 (Chile). A little chocolate and raspberry flavor; great for summer barbecues. ($13)

(90) Paco and Lola Albarino 2009 (Spain). With hundreds of albarinos now on the market, it is refreshing to find one that has all the fruit in the nose, but is crisp and dry on the palate with a very clean finish. ($16)

(90) Henry Fessey Morgon 2009 (France). Beaujolais is the perfect spring/summer red wine; medium bodied, with loads of exploding fruit; Fessy is an exceptional traditional style producer. ($17)

(90) Ameztoi Txakolina 2009 (Spain). Very fresh on the palate; briny with dry soft tannins; light, fresh, limey/citrus fruit. ($22)

(90) Dom de la Louvetrie Muscadet Serve et Maine sur Lie ‘€œLe Fief du Breil’€ 2008 (France). Fragrant nose; perhaps a more serious palate for the casual quaffer; concentrated pear/apple flavors; well integrated structure with a good, minerally finish. ($20)

(89) New Age Mendoza White Wine (Argentina). This wine is just plain fun; an off-dry and effervescent blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Malvasia; citrus and lychee leap out of the glass, but this wine is also great served on the rocks with a wedge of lime. ($10)

(89) Domaine des Haut Ouches, VDP Val de la Loire 2009 (France). This is a 100% Sauvignon Blanc made in the style of a Sancerre; very crisp with a background of fresh grapes and a truly wonderful retail price. ($12)

(89) Susan Fields Winery Santa Barbara Pinot Noir 2007 (California). If you have wondered where exceptional winemaker Jim Porter ended up after leaving William James Cellars, this is it; this Pinot Noir has loads of bright fruit and a surprisingly full mouthfeel for the price; as it is not loaded with tannins, it is an excellent spring/summer choice. ($19)

(89) La Marca Prosecco NV (Italy). Fresh citrus with hints of honey and white flowers on the nose; soft, light and delicate; delisious. ($15)

(89) Moobuzz Monterey Chardonnay 2009 (California). This has a very nice bouquet, distinctly Monterey with its cool climate balance of dryness and soft fruit aromas; good balance and weight, and though initially soft, it starts to turn nicely tart mid-palate as it reveals a nice array of citrus, apple and pear flavors. ($15)

(89) Ruta 22 Malbec 2009 (Argentina). Rich, smooth blackberry flavors with nice vanilla aromas. ($12)

(89) Trivento Amado Sur White Mendoza 2009 (Argentina). Torrontes (75%), Viognier (15%), Chardonnay (10%); nice bouquet that, despite the sweet melon, guava and pineapple aromas, keeps a dry feel; medium bodied, it is a bit soft and round, though it does show a crisp edge; mild pineapple and melon flavors dominate, with some tropical notes arriving in the aftertaste. ($15)

(89) Zonin Prosecco NV (Italy). What goes better with a poolside barbeque than prosecco? Crisp, refreshing, and sure to be a crowd pleaser with its beautiful green apple and lime flavors. ($10)

(89) Middle Sister ‘€œDrama Queen’€ Pinot Grigio NV (California). Ripe apple and grapefruit on the nose; dry flavor of a dusty apple just off the tree with a hint of lemon; full mouthfeel and a gentle finish. ($10)

(88) Totally Random Sweet Red NV (California). Ripe and rich in the nose, this wine displays lots of sweet red cherry and raspberry flavors tinted with mint; not shy in its sweetness either, but there is some firm tannin providing a drying effect, granting some sharpness to the ripe cherry flavors; long finish. ($10)

(88) Don’€™s Lodi Red NV (California). One look at the red and white checkered tablecloth label and you know you’€™ve got a cook-out wine; smokey plum and grilled steak aromas lead into the flavors of the same with a hint of red licorice; subtle tannins and a long finish reminiscent of a good cabernet. ($8)

(88) Vinum Cellars Chenin/Viognier 2009 (California). Chenin Blanc (80%), Viognier (20%); stone fruit aromas, medium bodied with just the right touch of sweetness to make it a perfect quaffer for a hot summer day. ($12)

(88) Jacob’€™s Creek Riesling 2010 (Australia). Citrus aromas of lemon and lime jump out of the glass; on the dry side; good acidity with a nice floral finish; excellent value. ($10)

(88) Vida Mar Curico Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2010 (Chile). The bouquet is fresh and quite tart, with aromas of a just-picked and peeled pineapple; zingy on the entry, the fruit flavors are fresh with plenty of citrus and pineapple; with time it softens a bit, gaining depth; citrus remains the dominant characteristic throughout. ($10)

(88) Meld California Red (California). This zinfandel-based field blend is a smooth as they come; easy drinking and fruit forward, it’€™s a wine that doesn’€™t take itself too seriously; soft red-berry and spice characteristics match beautifully with burgers, ribs and whatever else the barbecue may throw your way. ($11)

(88) Arabella Chenin Blanc 2010 (South Africa). Opens with a very interesting bouquet that is subtle and supple, with some lightly spicy notes of marzipan and butterscotch; crisp on the entry, and then softens a bit through the mid-palate; tasty citrus flavors are restrained but delineated, as light tangerine, lime and melon all make an appearance. ($12)

(88) DAM Red NV (California). A combination of zinfandel, cabernet sauvignon and merlot; very soft and fruit forward; balanced. ($10)

(87) Vina Leyda Pinot Noir Classic 2009 (Chile). Fresh, full or berry fruit flavors; showing some terroir-driven notes on the palate; a lot of complexity for the price. ($12)

(87) Ed Hardy Sangria (Spain). Refreshing blend of red wine and a secret family recipe of citrus fruits and spices; serve chilled and enjoy your barbecue; good value. ($7)

(87) Blackstone Merlot 2009 (California). Dark cherry and berry aromas with a touch of clove; rich fruit flavors and soft tannins. ($9.50)

(86) Rapido Pinot Grigio 2009 (Italy). The bouquet is fresh and zesty, with a lovely mix of melon and white peach aromas; medium-full, round and fruity, it has good balance, a soft mouthfeel, and a tasty array of green tree fruit flavors that stay soft and pleasing thanks to low acidity. ($9)

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