Is it really summer if you haven’t snuck a bottle of wine onto the beach? Not really. With beach season officially under way, it is the ideal time to ask some wine experts about the best wines for the beach (or a cookout, or the park, or anywhere else you plan to hang out until Labor Day). There are blossoming rosatos, bubbly whites, and even a cross between wine and beer — all lovely, all quite refreshing. Plus you should be able to find most of them at any decent wineshop in your town. Here, the best wines to drink this summer, according to 14 wine professionals.
The Wine: Underwood Riesling Radler
How Much: $24/4-pack at Union Wine Co.
Why Buy It: Part beer, part wine, and all easy drinking.
“The bitterness of hops helps balance the sweetness of the Riesling while both are uplifted by grapefruit citrus. And its low ABV makes it a quaffable choice for day drinking. And because it’s in a can and not a glass bottle, it’s perfect for long walks on the beach — in a koozie, of course.” — André Hueston Mack, founder, Maison Noir Wines
The Wine: Robert Weil Riesling Trocken 2017
How Much: $20 at Wine.com
Why Buy It: An affordable wine that won’t give you a serious hangover.
“This wine is light and zippy with a bit of complexity, but not at the expense of the whole. It’s better to be simple and well done than overdone and, well, a mess. Plus, the low level of sulfur means no headache, even after a day of drinking at the beach!” — Arnaud Tronche, co-owner and sommelier, Racines NY
The Wine: Bodega Chacra “Sin Azufre” Pinot Noir
How Much: $30 at Crush Wine & Spirits
Why Buy It: It’s a biodynamic red that’s light on the palate.
“The winemaker behind this bottle farms his entire property biodynamically, and no chemicals are used in the vineyard or the production process at any point. This wine, for me, is a delightfully pure expression of Pinot Noir, exceptionally fresh and subtle, quite light in body and with very gentle, supple tannins. It’s a perfect summer red — even for those people (like me) who generally lean towards white wines all year long.” — Jordan Salcito, owner-CEO of Ramona and director of special wine projects, Momofuku
The Wine: Domaine A. et P. de Villaine Bouzeron 2016
How Much: $43 at Wine Therapy
Why Buy It: It’s a cheap and delicious alternative to pricey white wines from Burgundy.
“This light white wine is perfect for poolside drinking. Mineral and light, it performs way over its price point. In general, Aligoté wines like this are a great option if you are looking for serious wine at a fraction of the cost of white Burgundy.” — Cedric Nicaise, wine director, Eleven Madison Park
The Wine: Borell-Diehl Trocken Pfalz 2018
How Much: $13 at Blanc et Rouge
Why Buy It: It comes in one-liter bottles, making for easier beach sneaking.
“Muller Thurgau: If you don’t know this Swiss crossbred grape of Riesling and Madeline Royale, let it be your secret weapon this summer for your time outdoors. It’s a popular blending grape in Germany, but I love the single varietal style as well as versions from Northern Italy. This one is my favorite. Easy drinking, superlight body, low acid, and hints of sweet peas and parsley.” — Cha McCoy, sommelier, Cha Squared
The Wine: Ninth Island Sparkling
How Much: $20 at Flatiron Wine & Spirits
Why Buy It: The no-wine-key cage closure is what you need for the summer.
A classic Champagne blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier, this traditional-method sparkling wine is a steal. It’s tropical fruit upfront with pleasant yeast notes, which makes it the perfect wine for Champagne lovers who don’t want to overthink (or overspend) for a picnic. It is dangerously crushable. And, bonus, a wine that doesn’t require a wine key to open if you’re on the go.” — Alexis Percival, co-beverage director–partner, Ruffian
The Wine: Meinklang Frizzante Rose 2017
How Much: $19 at Wine Therapy
Why Buy It: It still tastes great even when it’s a little warm.
“This is a sparkling Pinot Noir with a beautiful acidity, light notes of summer red fruits, and very soft bubbles. It can be difficult to find wine you can drink while lying on a hot beach. This one is light in alcohol, very easy to drink, and in my opinion also tastes good at almost room temperature, if for some reason you manage to keep the wine in the bottle long enough. The fruity notes develop and the fizz almost disappears to leave you with a light, bright indescribable beverage.” — Marie Tribouilloy, co-owner, Ops and Fôret Wines
The Wine: Ameztoi Getariako Txakolina Rubentis Rosé 2018
How Much: $25 at Chamber Street Wines
Why Buy It: It’s a naturally effervescent rosé and easy on the wallet.
“One of my ultimate go-to park/pool/beach wines is Txakoli [pronounced CHA-ko-LEE], the fizzy white (and sometimes rosé) wine from Spain’s Basque country. It has everything you want in a wine on a hot day when you’re outdoors, especially when by a body of water … it’s light and crisp, and low-alcohol in style, so it’s thirst-quenching and won’t weigh you down in the heat. What’s more, it’s made to intentionally keep some of its effervescence from the winemaking process, making it naturally spritzy and bubbly, so it’s refreshing.” — Thomas Pastuszak, wine director, The NoMad
The Wine: Marques de Tomares Blanco Riserva 2017
How Much: $22 at Flatiron Wines & Spirits
Why Buy It: It pairs perfectly with a lobster roll.
“All I want in the summer is shellfish and drawn butter — and I’m always looking for a wine that stands up to all that. This summer, I am really into this wine from Marques de Tomares. It has exactly the right body and floral aromatics that show up to the crawfish boil and add something to the table.” — Isabella Fitzgerald, beverage manager, Kāwi
The Wine: Mosse Vin de France Pet Nat Moussamoussettes 2018
How Much: $22 at Chamber Street Wines
Why Buy It: It tastes just like strawberries off the (wine) vine.
“This is an electric-pink glou glou glou pet-nat rosé made from Pineau d’Aunis & Grolleau grapes. It’s just good, fresh crushed strawberries with a hint of spice and great pop and a guzzler that doesn’t stop flowing until the bottle is empty.” — Jorge Riera, wine director, Frenchette
The Wine: Stolpman Love You Bunches Carbonic Sangiovese 2017
How Much: $28 at Wine Therapy
Why Buy It: It’s more serious than rosé but just as drinkable.
“Call it dark rosé or light red, but this wine is pure joy. Made from Santa Barbara Sangiovese that is carbonically macerated, it is juicy and the ultimate summer glou glou. I also recommend throwing your thermal bottle open, into the freezer, the night before and pouring your wine directly into the bottle. Not only does your wine stay cold, but you also don’t have to worry about lugging your recycling home.” — Talitha Whidbee, owner, Vine Wine
The Wine: Valentina Passalacqua Rosato Pulia IGP Mezzorosa 2017
How Much: $23 at Chamber Street Wines
Why Buy It: It’s a no-sulfur wine, so you’ll be able to function the next day.
“This is a full-bodied rosato that is at once complex and engaging and ridiculously easy to drink. Valentina Passalacqua farms her grapes biodynamically in northern Puglia and uses 100 percent Montepulciano for the rosato. Without any additions of sulfur during winemaking or at bottling, this is incredibly pure and fruit-driven, while still being fresh, mineral, and slightly salty. A medley of wild red berries, cherry, and red plum couples with wet-rock minerality and great acidity. At only 10.5 percent ABV, this wine is a summer thirst-quencher, great for pizza, or an outdoor barbecue, or just chilling on a rooftop in Brooklyn.” — David Lillie, co-owner, Chamber Street Wines
The Wine: Broc Cellars Love Rosé
How Much: $12 at Wine Therapy
Why Buy It: It pairs well with just about everything and now comes in a can.
“This rosé is, by far, my favorite rosé, and it now comes in cans, which is just deliciously scary. Broc Cellars are a small, but growing, natural vineyard in California, and the Love Rosé is a blend of Valdigiuié, Zinfandel, and Trousseau. It’s rich, it’s creamy, it’s dry, it’s chock full of rich red-cherry and dark-berry notes. It is infinitely crushable, can be drunk on its own, and it pairs very well with most foods (especially anything grilled).” — Eirikur Hallsson, bar director, Gloria
The Wine: Julie Benau Picpoul de Pinet 2018
How Much: $17 at Wine Therapy
Why Buy It: It’s an inexpensive, but yet impressive, white wine.
“I’m a Julie Benau stan, so I always recommend her wines. For the beach, her Picpoul de Pinet ‘Classique’ is and will continue to be my go-to. She is making wine west of the Mediterranean, so it already has the beach in its soul and an oyster on the label. It is sharp with acidity for refreshment, but rounds out nicely with green tropical fruits for pleasure. So it’s not just a one-note, mineral-driven white. Picpoul is also a grape, so if you can’t find Julie’s, your shop will likely have another expression to offer. And they are inexpensive, so you can go ahead and get the three bottles you already know you will drink.” — Zwann Grays, sommelier, Olmsted and Maison Yaki