Stock up on spring wines for your next patio gathering

The transition from spring to summer is nearly upon us, and that’s when our approach to wine becomes a little more relaxed. While we still delight in special dinner pairings, or splurging on the occasional celebratory bottle, it is nice to have some versatile, affordable wines on hand. Here are some suggestions:

House white by the liter. White wine seems to disappear more quickly than most beverages during an impromptu patio gathering, so it is good to have an option in a larger size. Austria’s grüner veltliner frequently is the grape of choice for liter bottles; fresh, herbal and peppery, this white pairs brilliantly with lots of food, from bright spring salads to spicy fried chicken. Sonnhof Social Club is a recent favorite of ours and a steal for under $20 per liter.

Universal rosé. We’ve discussed many times that rosé is a broad category, and we enjoy exploring the spectrum with a variety of foods and occasions. For our purposes here, we wanted a rosé that is light and dry, with peach and melon aromatics and a mineral finish that reminds you of the beach. Château de Calavon, an organic wine estate in Provence, France, has one that fits the bill perfectly and is priced to buy by the case.

Have some versatile and affordable wines on hand and at the ready for spring. / Courtesy of Krista Slater

Credit: Krista Slater

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Credit: Krista Slater

A red you can chill. This is a hot trend that we hope never goes away. A low-tannin, low-alcohol red that is better served slightly cool is a necessity if you live in the South. It can navigate all manner of meals, from fish fries to hot dog nights. We’ve been having fun exploring país, the traditional light red of Chile (its California counterparts often are known as mission grapes). It has earthy raspberry and floral notes. Reta granito is a particularly expressive example that overdelivers for under $25, and is worth seeking out.

A cookout red. Sometimes, you just want a robust red to go with your burger. However, when the thermostat reads over 80 degrees, an aggressive cabernet sauvignon, tipping over 14% alcohol, does not appeal. So, for our grilling red of choice, we turn to southern Italy for montepulciano d’Abruzzo. Typically more medium in body — but full of ripe black and red berry fruit, dark spice notes and a brooding minerality — montepulciano is a good match for your weekend cookout, as well as with pizza and pasta on weeknights. Fabulas has been a regular in our rotation lately and is a certified biodynamic producer of a montepulciano d’Abruzzo at the $24 sweet spot.

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