9 Sophisticated Date Night Wines (Under $30)

You’re already thinking smart if you’re planning a wine date. Not only is it incredibly stylish and sophisticated to enjoy a bottle of wine in, it’s usually cheaper than running up a bar tab.

And let’s be honest, there’s nothing sexier than sharing a bottle of wine together.

Regardless of your date’s level of wine smarts, there’s something indescribably sexy about these following nine wines. They appeal to *nearly* all wine lovers.

 

best wines for a date include sparkling rose, extra brut, zinfandel, grenache, and carmenere for the adventurous

Since exact bottles might not be available in your area, this list is organized by wine style and variety.

Illustration of sparkling rosé wine in a glass by Wine Folly

Sparkling Rosé

Flavors: strawberry, white cherry, citrus, cream, and honeysuckle

Why? If you thought sparkling wine was a good idea, you’d be right! We all get nervous during a date, and that feeling can turn your mouth into the Sahara. The cool thing about carbonation is that it stimulates the salivary glands without causing you to literally drool over your date.

Oh, and that rosy color isn’t just a pretty shade of red: studies have shown that the color red actually increases arousal in men. While we’re at it, maybe those red shoes are a good idea too!

But when you get down to brass tacks, rosé is a nearly universal crowd pleaser. It’s refreshing, easy to drink, and engaging without distracting you from your date.

What to seek out: Crémant d’AlsaceRosé of CavaLambrusco di Sorbara, etc.

 

Illustration of a Champagne coupe glass with extra brut sparkling wine by Wine Folly

Extra-Brut Sparkling

Flavors: citrus, yellow apple, almond, cream, and toast

Why? An evening of dancing and Champagne has been considered the ideal way to spend a date since the time of powdered wigs and tri-corner hats. And those fops might have been up to something: beyond the carbonation’s effect of keeping you stimulated, extra brut sparkling wine is required to have less than 6 grams per liter of residual sugar.

That means less than 1 carb per glass, which will keep you from getting annihilated by a sugar crash when midnight hits.

And frankly, if you open up a bottle of Champagne or Cava in any country in the world, the message will always be the same: we’re about to celebrate. It’s refreshing, it’s classy, and what date isn’t impressed by the pop of a sparkler’s cork? Make sure you know how to open your bottle properly first, of course…

What to seek out: ChampagneCava ReservaFranciacortaCap Classique, etc.

 

An illustration of Viognier - a full-bodied white wine - in a wine glass by Wine Folly

Viognier

Flavors: tangerine, peach, mango, honeysuckle, and rose

Why? The connection of love and roses has been a cultural touchstone for a long time, so why not bring a wine that reflects that? Along with its rich fruit flavors, Viognier’s sensual perfumed style also features a distinct aroma of flowers.

Not only do roses stand out as a token of affection, but studies show that this unique scent can produce a calming effect, which is perfect for relaxing and trying to get to know each other.

What to seek out: Look to the richer, oak-aged styles of the New World, particularly California’s Central CoastArgentina, or even Chile.

 

Illustration of French Rose wine including cotes de provence and tavel in a glass by Wine Folly

French Rosé

Côtes de Provence or Tavel Rosé

Flavors: strawberry, cherry, rhubarb (Tavel); strawberry, watermelon, rose, sea salt (Provence)

Why? More of that classic rosé style: it really does provide something that almost everyone can enjoy. Provence makes super pale rosés, with a light, delicate quality to match. If you’re looking for something a little more bold, Tavel is known for a deep pink color, along with a savory and rich flavor.

Like the in the sparkling rosés we’ve already mentioned, the color is key. The color red stirs up something in our brains, causing a heightened state of arousal.

While both of them pair incredibly well with a wide variety of date night foods, Tavel might be the secret to a date night success due to its deep color and unique flavors. But either one of them is delicious and seriously easy to drink.

 

Grenache in a aroma collector wine glass by Wine Folly

 

Grenache

Flavors: strawberry, plum, leather, herbs, and blood orange

Why? There’s something so compelling about a glass of Grenache. It starts with that ruby red color (and we all know what that means). Every sip is bursting with red berry flavors that will make your mouth water. It’s complex enough to keep you interested, but unintimidating and really easy to drink at the same time.

And if that wasn’t enough, the subtle sage and lavender aromas in these reds are also known as sexual olfactory stimuli in men. (It turns out there are a fair amount of those, in Grenache!)

What to seek out: Look to Roussillon (Sud de France), Côtes du Rhône, California, and Washington for the best.

 

Red Zinfandel in a glass illustration by Wine Folly

Zinfandel

Flavors: blackberry, strawberry, peach preserves, cinnamon, and sweet tobacco

Why? Want something red and complex, but don’t want your date to see your tannin face? Zinfandel combines zingy berry flavors and smoky, baking spice characteristics with softer tannins that make it easy to enjoy.

If that isn’t enough, Zinfandels have some of the highest alcohol levels you can get without resorting to something fortified. And if you’re just having a glass or two, a little extra alcohol can mellow you out and lower your inhibitions. Just don’t overdo it: drunkenly waving your shirt over your head is really more of a 3rd date kind of activity.

What to seek out: Look for wines with bottles with 14.5% ABV or more. Check out Primitivo di Manduria from Puglia, classic California Zinfandel from Paso Robles, Lodi, or North Coast (including Napa and Sonoma).

 

Carmenere in a glass - illustration by Wine Folly

Carménère

Flavors: raspberry, bell pepper, black plum, vanilla, and mint

Why? With its sophisticated peppery-minty notes, there’s a lot more to Carménère than the usual fruit bomb of other reds. This is a great way of signalling to your date that you enjoy the more complex things in life.

Every date runs the risk of grinding to a screeching halt when you’ve got nothing left to talk about (or can’t find something to even start with)! Carménère’s rich, vegetal aromas and flavors make for a terrific conversation starter.

What to seek out: This is one of those wines with vintage variability. Seek out Chilean Carménère with 2014, 2017, and 2018 vintages. (This is also a fun way to impress your date with your wine smarts).

 

A glass of Super Tuscan Blend wine by Wine Folly

Super Tuscan

Flavors: cherry, plum, tobacco, tomato, and herbs

Why? Italy is consistently singled out as one of the most romantic places in the world, and if that’s true, then this list would be incomplete without one of their luscious reds. Because they often include more familiar grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, Super Tuscans have mass appeal that even wine amateurs can appreciate, with the added benefit of complex, Italian characteristics.

With their deep red color, romance is built into the heart of Super Tuscan wines, and the combination of French and Italian grapes can lead to meaningful conversations about travel (and perhaps even lead to future plans). Some of these blends have distinct notes of lavender and baking spices: those all-too-familiar arousal aromas.

What to seek out: If you’re looking for something with a little more widespread appeal, look for Super Tuscans that are heavy on Cabernet SauvignonMerlot, and Petit Verdot. For a real world tour, however, try the blends that are a little more liberal with their use of Sangiovese.

 

Moscato d'Asti and Brachetto d'Acqui are both sweet sparkling wines from Italy - Wine Folly

Sweet Frizzante

Moscato d’Asti or the red bubbly, Brachetto d’Acqui

Flavors: lemon, orange, pear, orange blossom, and honeysuckle (Moscato); strawberry, orange zest, black currant, apricot, and cream (Brachetto)

Why? So dinner’s over, and you and your date are toying with the idea of dessert. Ditch the heavy cakes and puddings and go for a Moscato d’Asti or Brachetto d’Acqui. Their super perfumed aromatics can keep you occupied for hours, while the light “frizzante” bubbles will keep you stimulated and engaged even as the night draws to a close.

These sparklers are both delightfully sweet, as any dessert ought to be. Plus, there’s the added benefit of their low alcohol content, so you’ve got a much smaller risk of getting a little too tipsy while you’re trying to impress your date.

 

 

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Best BBQ & Wine Pairings

BBQ season is upon us. But any time of the year there is ambient weather, it’s always a treat to nosh on something from the grill. While it’s time to enjoy laid-back dining at the outdoor dining table, it’s not – as ever – a time for nose-dives on wine pairings.

Where barbecued meats and sauces are concerned, red wine pairings rule. However, wine matches for lighter foods from the barbie include all possible variations of whites and rosés. Here’s your premier guide to pairing the best wines for a barbecue and serving them, too!

HOW TO SELECT BBQ WINES

Just about everything is possible on the backyard grill. (By the way, don’t miss these tips on everything from grilled steak to grilled potato salad to how not to burn wooden skewers.) So, what wines do you drink at a barbecue? Other than the food to be grilled or smoked, the two main factors to consider are: 1) quantity of and length of exposure to heat and 2) sauces, if any.

Pairing Barbecue Wines Based on Grilling Versus Smoking

Grilling gives food more charred flavors from the hot - but relatively short -amounts of time that food is in contact with the heat source. The more intense the food’s charred flavor, the better it will pair with wines aged in new oak. This is because new oak barrels are charred on the inside before wine is aged in them. Highly charred oak barrels can impart flavors like coffee, chocolate and toast.

 

bbq meat smoker

 

Smoking foods involves a longer exposure to high heat. This extended cooking period creates higher levels of the Maillard Reaction. The Maillard Reaction occurs when amino acids and sugars in foods caramelize due to the applied heat. These smoked barbecue foods tend to pair best with wines showing softer tannins and less overt new oak flavors. Unless you like the burnt ends, that is. If so, stick with the oakier wines!

Pairing Barbecue Wines Based on Sauces

Sauces, however, change everything. Pairing barbecue sauces can mostly be divided into beef and pork style sauces.

Beef barbecue tends to use tomato-based sauces and focus on spicy, peppery tones. Tomato-based BBQ sauces work well with Syrah and Rhône-style blends with Syrah, like the Grand Reserve Grenache/Syrah/Mourvèdre.

Pork barbecue sauces are based on vinegar (Memphis- and western Carolina-style sauces also incorporate tomatoes) and lean to the sweet side. Less tannic reds with generous fruit flavors like Merlot and Pinot Noir are best bets for pork barbecue sauces. The exceptions are the sweet but tangy, mustard-based barbecue sauces of the Carolinas and Georgia. Mustard and red wine can be a challenging pair, depending on the other components of the particular sauce. Play it safe with bolder (that usually means more deeply-colored but still dry) rosé styles.

PAIRING WINE WITH GRILLED STEAK, BEEF RIBS, CHOPPED BEEF SANDWICHES AND BBQ BRISKET BURNT ENDS

Wine with Grilled Steak

 

Beef is a top contender for backyard barbecues. Whether you’re grilling or smoking beef, its savory flavors combined with its generous fat content make for a perfect pairing with BIG red wines. What red wine to pair with steak? A slab and a Cab are always a great combo! (Yet, not all steaks are created equal. Delve into the cuts and preparations in my post here.) This is because Cabernet Sauvignon delivers refreshment from the fatty meat thanks to its duo of firm tannins and bright acidity. Also, Cabernet Sauvignon usually sees toasty new oak, whose flavors meld well with those char marks (see Choosing Barbecue Wines Based on Grilling Versus Smoking above.)

Another excellent wine for grilled steak, as well as these other crowd-pleasing beef options is Zinfandel, whose spicy, peppery flavors also blend nicely with the char of the grill. Also, Zinfandel is the best wine with BBQ ribs and chopped beef, especially if you always ask for an extra side of sauce!

There’s one other fun red wine with brisket pairing that comes in handy if you don’t have a smoker or in the event of a rainy day. That’s braised beef brisket with red wine. If the braising sauce isn’t too spicy, stick with Cabernet Sauvignon. But know that, whatever you pour in your glass, you can trade down to a less expensive red wine for braising the brisket.

PAIRING WINE WITH BBQ BRISKET (NOT THE BURNT ENDS)

Aside from the burnt ends, brisket often works best with rich, fruit-filled wines with lower tannins. While brisket is fatty, it’s also delightfully tender. That’s why you don’t need the tannins. Pinot Noir works particularly well because it has lots of vivid, cleansing acidity. In fact, it offers more refreshment than most other reds.

PAIRING WINE WITH PORK BARBECUE, INCLUDING PULLED PORK AND BABY BACK RIBS

Pairing wine with Pork Barbecue

 

Choosing the best wines for pork barbecue must take sauces into account (see above.) This is especially key when you are deciding what to drink with pulled pork.

Because pork is a lighter meat, the lighter fruit flavors of Pinot Noir make it one of the best pork BBQ wines. Pinot Noir and pulled pork work well, too, even though pulled pork is deliciously fatty. While Pinot Noir is lighter in tannin, it gushes with refreshing acidity to “cleanse” the palate. That acidity knits together nicely with the perky vinegar elements of pork barbecue sauces, too. Full-flavored rosés, like the Grand Reserve Rosé, are also great pairings for pork barbecue with vinegar sauces.

Other light reds, especially those that can take a touch of a chill, pair well with pork barbecue, too. The Vintner’s Reserve Red Blend is a prime example of a good wine pairing for BBQ pork. In fact, its complexity from the blended grape varieties makes it one of the best wine pairings for pork baby back ribs.

PAIRING WINE WITH BBQ CHICKEN

Barbecued chicken can take on many different wines, depending on the ingredients used with the chicken. Chicken cooked on the grill and basted with barbecue sauce – especially tomato-based sauces – is a brilliant pairing with mid-weight reds that don’t taste too oaky. The red Vintner’s Reserve wines pair well with smokier sauces. BBQ chicken glazed with fruit sauces pairs well with dry rosé wines as do whites with a hint of sweetness, like the Vintner’s Reserve Riesling. However, BBQ chicken with fresh herbs and lemon calls for brisker wines, like Sauvignon Blanc. Chicken barbecued on the grill will have some smoky flavor to it, so make sure it’s a fuller-flavored variation, such as the Grand Reserve Sauvignon Blanc or the Grand Reserve White Meritage blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon.

PAIRING WINE WITH GRILLED SEAFOOD

 

Pairing wine with Grilled Seafood

 

The best wines with seafood vary quite a bit because there are so many flavors and textures within this category. White wine with grilled seafood is the default, and dry rosé wine with grilled seafood is a winner, too.

For shellfish, stick with white and rosé wines. The fusion of shellfish and red wine produces an unpleasant metallic taste. However, red wine with fish can work, though with only a few kinds of fish. Specific suggestions follow below.

PAIRING WINE WITH GRILLED SHRIMP

 

Pairing Wine with Grilled Shrimp

 

Shrimp are sweet, succulent shellfish. Grilled shrimp pairs well with whites and rosés, but what wine goes best with grilled shrimp will be determined by seasoning, sauces and accompaniments.

Grilled shrimp with tomatoes and smoky tones play best with the red fruit tones of dry rosé. Skewering the shrimp with fruit then grilling? An off-dry white wine like the Vintner’s Reserve Riesling or Muscat (a bit sweeter than the Riesling) are optimal matches. If the grilled shrimp will top a salad, opt for an herbal Sauvignon Blanc to meld with the greens. If you’re keeping it simple with just a baste of butter, salt and pepper, there’s nothing like the creaminess of a Chardonnay, especially one that shows some toasty new oak character.

PAIRING WINE WITH FISH

What wine goes with fish? Well, the best wine pairing with fish starts with the type of fish. Sturdy fish that don’t qualify for the fish “steak” category pair best with mid-weight white wines like Pinot Gris. However, meaty, steak-like fish such as tuna can stand up well to grilling and can work nicely with lighter, brighter reds like Pinot Noir. Fish that float in the middle, like salmon, pair well with richer whites – especially oak-accented Chardonnay. Yet, because salmon is so malleable, it can work with a wide variety of wines. Check out my previous post on wine pairings with salmon to fully explore the possibilities.

In the end, as with any grilled food, seasonings, sauces and accompaniments should be considered for wine pairings with fish. Luckily, however, many fish are served with little more than a squeeze of lemon.

PAIRING WINE WITH LOBSTER AND SCALLOPS

Like shrimp, lobster and scallops have sweet “meat”. These shellfish are often grilled with nothing more than butter and some zesty lemon, and that’s a combination that screams for a nicely oaked Chardonnay, like the Kendall-Jackson Grand Reserve or Jackson Estate Chardonnay wines. Additionally, in the spirit of more casual dining, Chardonnay’s toasty and buttery tones also make a sublime wine pairing for a lobster roll!

PAIRING WINE PAIRINGS WITH HOT DOGS AND SAUSAGES

Pairing wine with hot dogs and sausages can be as easy or as complicated as you’d like. Most hot dogs and sausages lean to the sweeter side. It might surprise you, but a lot of white wines work very well here! If you think about it for just a moment, it will make sense. Lots of wieners and sausages are blends of lighter meats. There’s lots of pork as well as turkey and chicken. Also, veggie and tofu hot dogs work well with white wines. Unless, you’re serving beef “dawgs”, the flavor of most hot dogs as well as meatless dogs tends to be neutral. Whatever is piled on top of them creates the flavor architecture. Moreover, so many of those add-ons are sweet: ketchup, relish, roasted onions, etc. For this, Pinot Gris is the ultimate hot dog wine. Its fruit is subtle, and it has just enough body to absorb the fat of the dog or sausage and the sweetness of the bun.

For spicy Italian sausages, beef hot dogs and chilidogs, red wines are the best pairing. Wines with supple, easy-going tannins and lots of berry fruit juiciness are the key. Merlot, Zinfandel and red wine blendsmake excellent pairings for hot dogs and grilled sausages!

PAIRING WINE PAIRINGS WITH HAMBURGERS

 

Pairing Wine Pairings with Hamburgers

 

Like with hot dogs and sausages, wine pairings with hamburgers can go many directions depending on the burger’s blend and its toppings. As long as the tannins are mild and the new oak influence is minimal, just about any red wine will work. Nonetheless, if you like your burger well-done or charred on the outside, you can match up your hamburger to oakier and fuller-bodied reds like Cabernet Sauvignon (put this pairing to the test by recreating Jo-Anna Rooney’s Blue Cheese Stuffed Burgers with Buffalo Wing Mayo). As a general rule of thumb, however, wines that pair well with spicy sausages, beef hot dogs and chilidogs also match seamlessly with hamburgers. The toppings and the bun are pretty much the same.

PAIRING WINES WITH SUMMER FRUITS AND VEGETABLES

 

Pairing Wines with Summer Fruits and Vegetables

 

Whether veg and fruit make up a substantial portion or your diet or they are just an accompaniment, there’s no question that summer is the time to indulge in the seasonal produce. Even if they aren’t prepared on the grill, chances are they’ll be on the table at your barbecue.

 

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Defining "Classic Wines"

Most of us aren’t even aware that there is a slowly-evolving list of “Classic Wines.”

Classic Wines are used to learn about wine. So, if you’re looking to improve your knowledge quickly, this is a great place to start!

What are Classic Wines?

Classic Wines typify a style or category of wine. For semantics geeks, they follow prototype theory, in being prototypical examples (or “perfect examples”) of a particular type of wine.

For example, those Cabernet Sauvignon-based red blends from the Médoc of Bordeaux are classic wines. They are prototypical examples of a regional style (e.g. French Cabernet) that’s produced consistently year after year.

Because Classic Wines are so consistent, they’re preferred and used by professionals to teach about wine.



Classic White Wines

This is the basic short list of Classic White Wines to know.

  1. Albariño Taste Spanish Albariño from Rias Baixas and learn how it differs from Pinot Gris, Chenin Blanc, and unoaked Chardonnay.

  2. Chardonnay Learn the different French Chardonnays, including Chablis, and how they compare to Australian and Californian Chardonnay.

  3. Chenin Blanc Make sure you compare Vouvray with Savennières and if you have time, try a South African Chenin Blanc from Stellenbosch or Paarl.

  4. Gewürztraminer Most educational programs focus on Alsatian Gewürztraminer only. That being said, the dry styles from Sonoma and Trentino-Alto Adige are more complex with subtle bitterness.

  5. Pinot Gris Pinot Gris is one of the most difficult white wines to blind taste. Learn to taste the difference between Alsatian, Northern Italian, and Oregon Pinot Gris (Grigio).

  6. Riesling Riesling is one of those varieties that’s so easy to blind taste that you should spend some time learning how to taste the difference between German, Alsatian (more dry), Austrian (riper German style), and Australian (more diesel vs petrol) Riesling.

  7. Sauvignon Blanc Become familiar with the differences between oaked Sauvignon Blanc (from France or California) compared to those wines from the Loire Valley (think Sancerre) and New Zealand.

  8. Torrontés Argentina’s highly aromatic white tastes sweeter from Mendoza and much more lithe and dry from Salta and Catamarca.

  9. Viognier Most tests only focus on the extremely tiny Condrieu region in the Northern Rhône. Try something from the Central Coast region (Paso Robles, etc) of California to expand your palate.

 

Classic Red Wines

While there are many more wines that could be considered “Classic,” this shortlist is what is considered fundamental knowledge for sommeliers.

 

  1. Cabernet Sauvignon This is one of the hardest. Exams often pick Bordeaux, South Australia, Chile, and the entire US for blind tasting. Learn how this grape differs from Merlot in each area.

  2. Gamay There really isn’t anywhere else to try besides Beaujolais. So, focus on identifying quality levels.

  3. Grenache Get to know Châteauneuf-du-Pape and South Australian Grenache. If you ask us, don’t leave out Spanish Garnacha.

  4. Malbec Get to know Mendoza Malbec like it’s your best friend. (It often is!)

  5. Merlot Don’t let Merlot fool you! It’s easy to confuse with Cabernet Sauvignon and grows in all the same locations.

  6. Nebbiolo Get your friends together and compare Barolo vs Barbaresco.

  7. Pinot Noir Dive deep into the the many sub-regions of Burgundy, California, Oregon, and New Zealand. Watch our fun comparison of Oregon vs Burgundy.

  8. Sangiovese The two main Sangiovese wines to know are Brunello di Montalcino and Chianti Classico. But, if you ask me, you’re missing out if you don’t try Montefalco Rosso.

  9. Syrah Most sommeliers are very confident with the differences between South Australian Shiraz, Northern Rhône Syrah, and several American examples too.

  10. Tempranillo Learn to taste the difference between Tempranillo, Cabernet, and Sangiovese. Practice tasting Rioja (of all levels) and Ribera del Duero.

  11. Zinfandel Look to the American wines and learn to taste the difference between Paso Robles (fruity, canned peaches), Sonoma Valley (dry, mineral), and Napa Valley (rich, with volcanic overtones).

 

More articles like this at winefolly.com

The 10 Best Canned Wines for Summer 2019

Canned wines might have seemed gimmicky when the category launched — heck, brand names like Porch Pounder certainly didn’t help — but they’re absolutely here to stay. According to market research firm BW 166, canned wine sales rose 43 percent between June 2017 and June 2018. In January 2018, Nielsen reported the category was worth more than $45 million.

For the past two years, VinePair has scoured the landscape to find our favorite canned wines. As the sector continues to evolve, and an increasing number of brands get in on the action, we thought it was time to try some more.

Following an extensive tasting of more than 30 nationally available canned wines, we noted many similarities (both positive and negative) with tastings in years gone by.

If you’re the kind of person who gains just as much enjoyment out of a wine’s aroma as its flavors, canned wines might not be for you. When consuming directly from a can, it’s difficult to pick up the wine’s aromas — and, if you do, many are tinged with reductive notes of burnt matches and boiled eggs (once cans are sealed, no oxygen can reach the wine within).

The convenience of the grab-and-go packaging is also a double-edged sword. The vast majority of cans come in 375-milliliter servings, the equivalent of half a standard bottle of wine. Frankly, that’s too large a serving size in our opinion. The (less common) 250-milliliter and 187-milliliter cans are much more user-friendly and more brands would do well to adopt these sizes, even if it means spending a little more.

To come up with this year’s ranking, we judged the wines first on their flavors, given how difficult it is to judge aromas when drinking — as intended — from the can. Afterward, we gave them a swill in a glass so we could share some of their many delicious aromas with you. Finally, we ranked our favorites.

 

Without further ado, here are the top 10 canned wines for summer 2019.

10. INFINITE MONKEY THEOREM ROSÉ BUBBLE UNIVERSE

Infinite Monkey Theorem is one of the best canned wines for summer 2019.

Denver-based Infinite Monkey Theorem was one of the pioneers of the category, launching its first single-serve release back in 2015. Lightly carbonated, with vibrant aromas of raspberry, bubblegum, and ripe strawberries that continue onto the palate, Rosé Bubble Universe is the pick of the bunch from this producer. Average price: $14.99 per 4-pack.

9. VINNY

VINNY is one of the best canned wines for summer 2019.

Launched in 2018 by Thomas Pastuszak, the wine director at New York’s NoMad hotel, VINNY is a bubbly white blend from the Empire State’s Finger Lakes region. This gently sparkling white wine smells like a slightly candied Riesling, with pear and aloe on the palate. Size-wise, it’s a hit, arriving in slender 250-milliliter cans. Average price: $20 per 4-pack.

 

 

 

8. SANTA JULIA ORGANIC ROSÉ

Santa Julia Organic Malbec rosé is one of the best canned wines for summer 2019.

Santa Julia is one of Argentina’s largest certified organic wine producers. In February 2019, the winery released a line of three canned wines. We enjoyed them all but were particularly impressed by the rosé, which is made using 100 percent organically grown Malbec grapes. With an attractive blend of cranberry, strawberry, and raspberry notes, Santa Julia delivers clean-tasting, organic wine you can drink on the go. Average price: $5.99 per can.

7. COMPANION WINE CO. RIESLING

Companion Wine Co. Riesling is one of the best canned wines for summer 2019.The cool climate of California’s Arroyo Seco AVA offers one of the longest growing seasons in the state. This makes the region ideal for brightly acidic, citrus, honeyed Rieslings like this offering from Companion Wine Co. For those who think they don’t like Riesling because it’s too sweet, this is a particularly good pick. Average Price: $10 per can.

6. ARCHER ROOSE SAUVIGNON BLANC

Archer Roose Sauvignon Blanc is one of the best canned wines for summer 2019.A grapefruit explosion on the nose is followed by notes of gooseberries and green bell peppers in this textbook Chilean Sauvignon Blanc. One of four canned Archer Roose offerings from four different international regions, this was, by some way, our favorite from the brand. Average Price: $16 per 4-pack.

5. AVA GRACE ROSÉ

AVA Grace Rosé Companion Wine Co. Riesling is one of the best canned wines for summer 2019.California-based AVA Grace Vineyards delivers two delightful canned wines in some of the best-designed packaging we’ve seen. Our favorite is the rosé, which has notes of strawberry yogurt, strawberry compote, and tart rhubarb. The Pinot Grigio is also solid and bursts with mint, pear, and citrus notes. Average Price: $4.99 per can.

 

 

 

4. SANS WINE CO. ZINFANDEL

Sans Wine Co. Zinfandel is one of the best canned wines for summer 2019.Ever wondered what minimal-intervention, “natural” canned wine might taste like? Meet Sans, a Napa Valley winery pushing the category’s boundaries. Truth be told, we found Sans’ lineup to be somewhat inconsistent, but were really impressed by this Mendocino County Zinfandel. Its expressive bouquet and palate included notes of white pepper, anise, red currants, mocha, and vanilla. It’s also the best (and only) red wine on this year’s list. Average Price: $30 per 3-pack.

3. AMBLE + CHASE ROSÉ

Amble + Chase Rosé is one of the best canned wines for summer 2019.This is classic Provençal rosé served in 250-milliliters cans that were custom-designed to take over your Instagram feed. Raspberry, mint, and peach notes mingle with creamy strawberry yogurt in this elegant rosé that just happens to arrive in a can. Average Price: $20 per 4-pack.

2. BRIDGE LANE CHARDONNAY

Bridge Lane Chardonnay is one of the best canned wines for summer 2019.With lemon, green apple, and underripe stone fruit on the nose, and creamy malolactic notes on the palate, this wine smells and tastes like really good Chardonnay. Do we even detect a hint of minerality? Try it yourself and let us know. Average Price: $8 per can.

1. ROSÉ ALL DAY

Rosé All Day is one of the best canned wines for summer 2019.Despite the fact summer hasn’t even started yet, we, too, are already sick of the words “rosé all day.” But this canned wine ticks all the boxes. It’s bubbly, arrives in 250-milliliter pours, and is bursting with character. It tastes a lot more “serious” than its packaging suggests, with strawberry, raspberry, and lavender notes giving way to a surprisingly dry, crisp finish. At $15 for 1 liter of wine, it’s also an absolute bargain. Average Price: $15 per 4-pack.

 

 

 

 

 

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Three Great Reasons to Drink Wines Made from Organic Grapes

They look and taste the same as conventional wines, but they're better for the Earth (and us)! Here are three reasons to drink wines made with organic grapes. 

 

Wines made with organic grapes - Araucano reserva Sauvignon Blanc Chile

1. They look, taste, and cost the same as other wines.

One of the biggest misconceptions about wines made with organic grapes is that they don't taste as good as conventional wines. Fortunately, this is not true! Wines labeled "made with organic grapes" are from organically tended vineyards. These grapes ripen just like regular wine grapes. And, they're made into wine in the same way.

So they won't taste any different from conventional wines. 

Organic grape wines are also priced pretty competitively.

For example, we went shopping for Sauvignon Blanc and found two Chilean wines. The organically grown version was $12.99 and the non-organic version was $11.99.

Certified Organic Grapes wine Serein Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand

2. They're better for you.

Here are three interesting facts about wines made with organic grapes that suggest an improved human health impact:

1. Wines have reduced sulfites. (Conventional wines may have up to 350 parts per million vs. no more than 100 ppm for organic grape wines).

2. Grape growers are not allowed to use glyphosate (aka RoundUp). Napa recently banned the use of this chemical due to the potential carcinogenic hazards.

3. Winemakers are not allowed to use genetically modified yeasts for fermentation.

 Of course, sulfites, glyphosate, and genetically modified yeasts haven't been proven to cause bodily harm in most humans. So, reducing intake is more of a helpful precaution, Either way, seeking out "wines made with organically grown grapes" will hit all those boxes. 

grgich-estate-organic-grape-wine

3. They're better for the environment. 

Organic, biodynamic, and "beyond organic" (such as permaculture) farming techniques are leading the way to improve our soils, water, air, and wildlife quality.

One big impact we'll see in California if we move to more organic farming will be the increase of Monarch butterfly populations. Currently, weed killers destroy the butterflies' main source of food (milkweed) and their numbers have dwindled by more than 90 percent. :( 

Still, it's important to note that organic farming is more difficult for several reasons:

1. Pest infestations and plant diseases are much harder and time-consuming to solve. They require creative solutions through patient observation.

2. Annual farming costs tend to be higher due to the need for more hands-on work.

3. Yields tend to be lower because of reduced chemical use.

4. Responsible land-use reduces the amount of land available for crop production. 

 How you can help.

The change starts with us, the wine drinkers. Our buying habits are what gives grape growers the incentive to make big changes to their farming programs. It's not going to happen overnight, but it can happen in the next two to three years.

How?

Well, when we request and buy wines made with organically grown grapes, we incentivize farmers. 

One way to start this wave is to change how you buy affordable, daily drinking wines. Make an effort to pick organic grape wines.