Ratings: What Wine Enthusiast’s Tasting Department Is Drinking this Summer
Summer drinking doesn’t only have to mean easy-sipping whites and blush-hued rosés. In fact, the Wine Enthusiast Tasting Department and its cadre of Writers at Large are adamant that the best wines are for year-round enjoyment. To that end, at the moment they’re sipping on all sorts of things as temperatures tick upward, from full-bodied, old-vine red blends to structured Malbecs.
Of course, this wine-obsessed crew also delights in bottlings traditionally associated with warm weather. Currently haunting their dreams are additionally a bright and fresh rosé, perfect for al fresco entertaining; a thirst-quenching Chablis that delivers relaxing beach vibes; and a no-fuss white blend ideal for poolside lounging.
The thread uniting these wines? All stood out to our seasoned reviewers during blind tastings, which are performed in a controlled setting and reflect the parameters of our 100-point scale. It’s no easy feat, but one that can help pinpoint the most exemplary wines.
To better understand what makes these wines so special, we asked our reviewers for deeper insights into why they’re drinking what they’re drinking. If you’re looking to stock your own wine fridge this summer, imitation is the best form of flattery.
Jim Gordon, Senior Tasting Editor
“This field blend epitomizes the best of what comes from Sonoma County’s old-vine vineyards, where Zinfandel is interplanted with other traditional grape varieties,” Gordon says. “In this case, the 115-year-old vineyard includes Petite Sirah, Carignane and Mataro, also known as Mourvedre.”
“Cool-climate Syrah is the most interesting style of wine on the planet, and this version presents all that pepper, purple flower and gamy funk in the most pristine of ways,” explains Kettmann. “Grown on land that truly looks at the Pacific Ocean a couple miles away, this is a winemaker, Mikey Giugni, in his prime sourcing from a grower, Mike Sinor, in his prime in the SLO Coast AVA, the most exciting new appellation in years.”
Stacy Briscoe, Senior Editor
“What Schramsberg does consistently well is pay respectable homage to the Methode Champenoise and the 2019 Blanc de Noirs is no exception,” Briscoe says. “[The wine] interweaves vivacious citrus and green fruits with the decadent toasted baguette and savory spices that I find absolutely appetizing.”
“I love the texture and complex savory qualities provided by Antiquum’s Alium,” Alberty says. “Every year it reminds me that Pinot Gris doesn’t have to settle for being ordinary. With passion and intention, it can make some of the Willamette Valley’s best wines.”
“Located northwest of Auckland, Kumeu River is widely considered one of New Zealand’s—and the world’s—top Chardonnay producers, and this vintage of Coddington deftly demonstrates why,” Pickard explains. “It’s generally the richest in the single-vineyard Chard stable, but 2021’s low yields ramped the concentration up another notch—relative to Kumeu’s bonier, more austere bottlings, that is. In reality, this is a perfectly pitched wine with elegance, piercing acidity and exceptional class.”
“Since it was founded almost three decades ago, Altos Las Hormigas has only focused on making Malbec. The level of expertise they have achieved shows in this elegant terroir-driven wine,” Vargas explains.
“This is a perfect example how patience will reward those who age Mosel Rieslings,” Zecevic says. “This is especially true for a vintage like 2011, where Mother Nature blessed the growers with prime fruit. This has developed impeccably, vividly displaying the complexity and harmony that’s often hard to find in a young Spätlese.”
Reinhold Haart 2011 Piesporter Goldtröpfchen Spätlese Riesling (Mosel)
97 Points | See full review here
“Château d’Arsac is an estate that produces wines with great style and the hallmark Margaux elegance,” Voss says. “I like this wine, from a good vintage, because it shows those qualities while also having a generous character from the year.”
“When I reach for a thirst-quenching wine on a hot summer day, I usually pick something cold, stony-saline driven and highly acidic,” Cabrales says. “I want something that will reset my palate and give me relaxed summer beach vibes, not make me think about winemaking. I want impact with no fuss. A Chablis like this Premier Cru is great to help set a fun mood, while relaxing in the park with a book or at a picnic with friends.”
“I love this rosé because it’s fresh and bright enough to enjoy as an aperitif, but the palate is complex enough to pair with a meal,” Topps says.
“Bright, easy-drinking but never boring, this is my ideal summertime wine,” Saladino says. “You can drink it on its own—preferably next to someone’s pool—but it’s also substantial enough to stand up to cold noodles, summer produce and other things I love to eat when it’s hot outside.”
“This is Barbera as it should be! It is fruit forward, vibrant and full of energy, giving so much from the aromas to the finish,” Porter says. “Not only is it delicious, but it also works with a variety of dishes, from your favorite pizza to salmon or tuna to smoked brisket. What else could you ask of a wine?”
“Besides the beautiful mouthfeel and gorgeous flavor profile, the Alvaredos-Hobbs 2019 Godello is built to last,” DeSimone explains. “Barrel fermentation and aging add tannins and complexity that will keep this wine going strong for at least another decade.”
Why You Should Trust Us
All products featured here are independently selected by our team, which is comprised of experienced writers and wine tasters and overseen by editorial professionals at Wine Enthusiast headquarters. All ratings and reviews are performed blind in a controlled setting and reflect the parameters of our 100-point scale. Wine Enthusiast does not accept payment to conduct any product review, though we may earn a commission on purchases made through links on this site. Prices were accurate at the time of publication.
Last Updated: July 20, 2023