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Summer Wine: Look For Light, Bright And Affordable

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Before the summer slips away, we raise a glass to hot August nights — and their perfect wine pairings. A good summer wine will be "light, bright and affordable," Leslie Sbrocco, author of The Simple and Savvy Wine Guide, tells NPR's Linda Wertheimer.

Whether you're on the beach, on the go or at the grill, Sbrocco offers recommendations for affordable reds and whites under $25.

When You're On The Go ...

Chandon Brut Classic "Limited Edition #1: American Summer" California
Good things come in small packages: This light, sweet, crisp, sparkling wine in a pint-sized container comes from the California outpost of Moet & Chandon, the French champagne house. "This is their limited edition summertime bottle," Sbrocco says. "187s we call them. They're about two glasses of wine — for me, it's about one big glass."

2011 Mulderbosch Rose, Coastal Region, South Africa
Don't let the pink fool you — this light, bright, affordable wine made from cabernet sauvignon grapes is powerful enough to be matched up with meat or seafood. And it's convenient, too. "The reason I picked it for on-the-go is because it's a screw cap," Sbrocco says. "You don't need a corkscrew ... just throw the bottle in [your bag] and bring some plastic glasses and you're on your way."

When You're Sitting By The Pool ...

2011 Ruffino Moscato d'Asti, Italy
If you need a real thirst quencher, this sweet, peachy, floral wine from northern Italy is a good bet. "You can even add a little seltzer water to it, even add a little slice of lime and make it into a cocktail," Sbrocco suggests.

2011 Pewsey Vale Dry Riesling, Eden Valley, Australia
Not all rieslings are sweet! This bone-dry white is full of complex, citrus flavors — and goes great with spicy food. Sbrocco describes it as dry, crisp, floral and minerally. "If you don't like sweet wines, please, I beg you to try this wine," she says. "It's absolutely beautiful."

When You're Grilling ...

2010 Tormaresca "Torcicoda" Primitivo, Salento, Italy
This big, bold red is the perfect match for a piece of seared steak. "This is coming from the heel of Italy ... a beautiful, warm wine-growing region," Sbrocco says. "You get these big, rich reds, but they still have that gritty and mouth-cleansing tannin that helps beautifully with meat."

2008 Alpha "Reserve" Xinomavro, Amydeon, Greece
"I have been so impressed lately by what's been coming in from Greece," Sbrocco says. "This is just a terrifically elegant wine that still can stand up to the biggest of foods."

Both of these big reds are great for savory summer dinners — and for expanding your palate. Sbrocco says these two exotic Mediterranean wines are the perfect way to "broaden your wine horizons."


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