With the prospect of summer on the horizon, swapping out heavy reds and oaky whites for fresher, more youthful wines is a way to attract diners. Sparkling wines, reds with nuances that won’t overpower the food, and whites with a fresh bent are all in vogue. From Italy, France, and California, here are some selections.
Non-vintage Nino Franco Spumanti Rustico Prosecco, Valdobbiade, Italy
Its dry profile, with notes of pears and a soft backbone, makes this Prosecco (featuring 100% Galera grapes) approachable. It’s a good option for a table with varying palates—or simply to begin the meal as an aperitif. That it’s a value wine—but of high quality—makes it even more accessible to diners as a by-the-glass option.
2013 Psagot Winery Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Jerusalem Hills, Jerusalem
Israeli wines are on a second chapter and this Cab is no exception. The terroir is intense, from the nose to the finish, and there’s lots of dark fruit on the palate. Consider pairing with grilled meats or roasted spring vegetables, as well as game meats, for a solid match
2012 Tabarrini Montefalco Rosso, Montefalco, Italy
A cigar-box undercurrent on this red wine—Sagrantino, Barbera, and Sangiovese grapes—is expressive but doesn't overpower, mingling nicely with toasted vanilla and red currants. This would pair well with gamey meats or roasted vegetables.
2014 Artesa Winery Estate Reserve Chardonnay, Carneros, California
Crisp and fresh, with only slight oakiness, and amazing balance, this style of Chardonnay features Meyer lemons and white peaches. This would be perfect to drink with raw-bar items or spring salad greens.
2013 Rutherford Hill Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, California
In typical Napa Cab style, there are tobacco undertones and toasty oak throughout (including on the lengthy finish, which is also marked by cigar-box notes), but the bright black cherry notes are a crowd pleaser. Ideal to sip with grilled meats or vegetables.
2014 Migration Pinot Noir Bien Nacido Vineyards, Santa Maria Valley, California
Sourced from the epic Bien Nacido Vineyards, there are crushed ripe red cherries on the nose. Then silkiness and sweetness and strawberries, with subtle baking spices and green tea—until, at last, the long finish.
2015 Adler Fels Winery “The Eagle Rock” Chardonnay, California
A blend of 50% Monterey County and 50% Sonoma County (Russian River Valley) fruit, the Chardonnay’s juicy pineapple notes ease into elegant layers and a long finish, adding up to a rich and complex wine.
2013 Domaine Léon Barral Winery Faugères Jadis, Languedoc-Roussillon, France
Imported by Kermit Lynch, this fruit-forward red wine from a winery founded in the 1990s features incredible terroir. Cola and red currant notes—from 50% Carignan, 30% Syrah, and 20% Grenache—make for a fabulous food pairing.