If You Like This Wine, Then Try…

The heart of summer is about getting outside, so the wines to consider drinking should taste great with outdoor activities. From outdoor picnics, swim parties and barbecues to nights under the stars with live music, the most satisfying wines are incredibly light and refreshing, or ready to pair with grilled meats.

WHITES for Outdoor Summer Concerts

If You Like…
Dutton-Goldfield 2014 Green Valley Vineyard Green Valley of Russian River Valley Gewürztraminer ($25)
With a gorgeous perfume of rose water and dried rose petals, this is a sublime white wine, edgy and offering a suggestion of brine to go with a core of ripe pear. Given no time in oak, it dances on the palate and is delicious on its own, yet will be a worthy companion to spicy summertime appetizers.

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Borra Vineyards Markus 2014 
Lodi Nativo ($19)
An inventive and refreshing blend of Kerner, Riesling and Bacchus grapes, this wine comes from historic vineyard sites in the heart of Lodi. Mokelumne Glen Vineyards is the only place in the state where Kerner is currently grown. Floral and exuberant in crisp citrus flavor, this wine goes down amazingly easily, and the screwcap closure makes it friendly for evening picnics.

CHARDONNAY for Swim and Garden Parties

If You Like…
Artesa 2013 Estate Reserve Carneros Chardonnay ($35)
Made from estate-grown grapes in the heart of Carneros, this is a fuller-style Chardonnay, textured and weighty without being over the top. A bite of crisp apple sparks the palate, followed by substantial undertones of honey and vanilla. A hint of ginger adds to the complexity.

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Cannonball 2013 Sonoma County Chardonnay ($15)
This delightfully straightforward and inexpensive wine will please a crowd with its flavors of creamy vanilla, pineapple, peach and Meyer lemon, framed by a modest use of oak. Ripe and layered, it will pair well with kabobs and grilled vegetables, or shellfish you might have hauled in.

ZINFANDEL for Independence Day

If You Like…
Elyse 2012 Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel ($37)
Here’s a mouth-filling, juicy Zinfandel with dusty tannins and a floral, violet-like aroma. There’s also plenty of briary blackberry and black cherry, and it’s savory in leather and black pepper notes, too. Enjoy it with sophisticated meats, including prime bacon burgers and Asian-spiced ribs.

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Angels & Cowboys 2012 Sonoma County Proprietary Red ($24)
A Zinfandel-based blend of Syrah, Petit Verdot, Sangiovese, Petite Sirah and Malbec, this brawny wine begs for service with grilled meats. It’s fruity in blackberry and blueberry, with licorice and a hint of chocolate rounding out the palate. It’s full-bodied and smooth, perfect for outdoor nights with meat on the fire.

CABERNET SAUVIGNON for Grilled Steak

If You Like…
Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars 2012 Artemis 
Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($55)
This is a rich, full-bodied wine with small amounts of Merlot and Malbec. Its sizable tannins are wrapped around blackberry, plum and smoky oak. Accented with chocolate and tobacco, it’s a great wine to pull out for company.

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Slingshot 2013 Napa Valley 
Cabernet Sauvignon ($23)
This is a young, ready-to-enjoy wine with classic Cab notes of black cherry, cassis and even cranberry. The oak and tannins are restrained enough to make it approachable now. It’s not overly complex, but it’s well made and offers juicy fruit flavors.

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