Best White and Blush Wines to Drink This Summer
NEW YORK CITY — After 10 summers in New York City, Vladimir Kolotyan knows that to celebrate the change of season he must think pink.
The pink of a chilled, just-opened bottle of rosé, that is.
"We need to get out of this gloomy world for now," said Kolotyan, who is the sommelier for Barbounia, a Mediterranean restaurant at East 20th Street and Park Avenue South.
White wine also does the trick, he said.
"The lightness of [white] wine, the freshness of wine provides the mood for summer," he said.
The transition away from the heavy, spicy dark reds of winter is about a change of perspective as much as it is about matching what you're drinking with what you're eating, he said.
Fresh fruit, grilled seafood and airy salads of summer call for wines that "keep you light so you can have this energy to keep moving," Kolotyan said.
White wines and rosés are less alcoholic than reds, too, so drinkers can incorporate them into daytime activities. They also tend to be less expensive than red wines, Kolotyan added, because red wines tend to be more time-consuming to produce.
Murray Rosen of Columbus Wines and Spirits at West 95th Street said his store has one of the largest collections of rosés in the city, with more than 50 varietals to choose from. The store's deep buying allows them to keep prices low, and they also offer 20 percent off of any mix-and-match case, Rosen said.
To help you see the world through pink (and white) colored glasses, as Kolotyan encourages, DNAinfo New York has compiled top picks for whites and rosés — at various price points.
Infamous Goose Sauvignon Blanc, 2011, $10 - $11
This New Zealand wine "gives a unique edge to this classical varietal," Kolotyan said.
New Zealand sauvignon blancs emphasize green notes like asparagus or grass that pair well with shrimp or other shellfish, he said.
While the '80s and '90s were dominated by a taste for rich, buttery chardonnays, drinkers today are looking for something lighter, and imports from New Zealand have risen dramatically, he said.
Esporao Monte Velho White, 2011, $9.99
"One nice summertime sipper," is how Rosen describes this bottle.
The wine is fresh and fruity, with notes of apple, pear, white peach and citrus. And a mineral streak adds interest to this Portuguese wine, which Rosen calls very easy to drink.
Bourcier Martinot Macon Recolte, 2011, $15.99
This white burgundy is made from chardonnay, but tastes nothing like it, said Aviram Turgeman, the sommelier at Nice Matin at West 79th and Amsterdam Avenue.
Made in stainless steel tanks, the wine is light to medium bodied with notes of honeydew melon, pineapple, tangerine and sweet red apple.
"This finish is crisp. It can partner with a lot of dishes," like light salads or fish tartar, Turgeman said.
It's the perfect bottle for "people who want something light and fruity."
Bodega Colome Torrontes, 2012, $13
This Argentinean wine is a mix of muscat grapes and torrontes grapes, Turgeman said.
"It's highly aromatic and perfumed," he said.
It smells of orange blossoms, jasmine and stone and citrus fruits, but "it's bone dry in your mouth," and "vivid, crisp and fresh."
This wine would pair well with spicy ceviche or pungent cheeses.
"It's a lot of fun if you're looking for a wine that screams your name," he said.
Sigales Santorini Asstyriko, 2012, $18.99
Transport yourself to the enchanting Greek isle of Santorini with this white, Kolotyan said.
Asstyriko is the indigenous grape varietal of Santorini, an island formed after a volcanic explosion, with ashy soil that provides lots of minerality to its wines, he added.
"It's a full-bodied white wine that you can pair with heavier sauces," he said, adding that branzino would pair well with it.
Moulin de Gassac Picpoul de Pinet, 2011, $19
The picpoul varietal is very unique, Kolotyan said, and Pinet is the best region for picpouls.
"This is a very light, crisp wine," he said.
It pairs perfectly with oysters because it refreshes and washes the palate, he added.
There's also a slight bubbly quality giving you a "libretto" on the sides of your tongue, he said.
Statti Cantine e Frantoio Mantonico, $22.99
"This wine just blew me away," Rosen said of this Italian white.
The wine has "plenty of acidity," with notes of lemon, rhubarb, green apple peel and green herbs, he said.
A dry finish and the "barest residual of sweetness" make this a white Rosen said "encourages major consumption."
The wine also has a "rich full-bodied core," he said.
Benito Santos Igrexario de Saiar Albarino, 2011, $18 - $19
This certified organic wine from Spain "has summer written all over it," Turgeman said.
"I smell this wine and my mouth waters," he said of the notes of apricots, pear, peaches and flowers.
And it's not a candied smell, either.
"The fruit in the wine smells so real and fresh," he said.
"There's a certain saltiness on the mouth that makes it so attractive," he said, recommending it be paired with seafood.
Fefinanes Albarino, $27.99
This Spanish white serves as a great aperitif wine or is best paired with a seafood main course, Rosen said.
A "faint saline note reminiscent of the sea," and mineral flavors alongside rich notes of pineapple and papaya make this bottle unique.
It's also bursting with lemon-lime flavors on first taste, Rosen said.
The Wolftrap Rosé, 2011, $6.99
This South African wine is a bargain, but tastes more high-end. It's "reasonably dry, and very thirst quenching," Rosen said.
The wine goes well wish fish, but has enough body to stand up next to a glazed ham, he added.
St. Tropez Rosé Cuvee Cep d'Or, $12.99 for 750 ML, from $28 for a magnum
"The idea of a magnum of rosés is very popular," Kolotyan said. "The whole presentation and ambiance — people like to be the center of attention and have fun."
This rosé hails from the epicenter of the varietal: Provence — always a safe bet when selecting, advised Kolotyan.
Cep d'Or has floral notes and the essence of strawberries and is light enough to drink without food, he said.
Domaine Netofa Rosé, 2012, $17 - $24
When most people think of rosé producers, Israel does not immediately come to mind, but Kolotyan insists that this kosher wine is worth trying.
"They have a lot of sun over there and that will emphasize the fruitier notes," he said of this "happy" wine, which is full of strawberry notes.
Drinking it is reminiscent of "walking in a strawberry field," he said.
La Bastide Blanche Bandol, 2012, from $19
This bottle is from Bandol, a French region best known for its rosés.
"The land, the sun, the wind and the soil combined in Bandol to give the region a higher edge" in producing mouvert, a grape varietal often used in rosés, Kolotyan said.
The wine has notes of raspberries and pairs well with food because of its full body, he said.
Domaine du Salvard Cheveryn, 2011, $18 - $19
This Loire Valley wine is Turgeman's "go to for people who want to drink sancerre but can't afford it," he said.
With notes of elderflower and crisp green apples and a degree of minerality, it's tailored to goat cheese salads or mussels in wine, he said.
"It's so refreshing that once you have a sip you really want to go back to it," he said.