The Only Summer Wine Guide You Need

A guide to summer drinking for small budgets and large appetites by Marissa A. Ross — LA-based writer, comedian, and self-proclaimed wino.


Pack up your cable knits and stow away your Cabernets because summer is coming!!! Yes, with that many exclamation marks. The sight of myself in sweatpants throwing back Burgundies and complaining about the bullshit new releases on Netflix was starting to get depressing. It’s time for cold wine, hot concrete, cut-offs, and endless afternoons outside. Here are seven of my seasonal favorites to break out along with your SPF 70.

For Your Friend That “Doesn’t Like White Wine”

Arca Nova Vinho Verde, Portugal, $9

For Your Friend That “Doesn’t Like White Wine” (But loves her tequila.) Arca Nova Vinho Verde, Portugal, $9

First, tell them to shut up. I know that sounds harsh, but I’m allowed to say it because I used to be that person and I wish someone would have told me sooner to shut up and embrace white wine. Vinho Verde is my favorite white wine. Cheap and fun, this effervescent and easy-drinking treat is perfect for your friend who claims to hate light grape. Very light and dry like a Pinot Grigio, but zippier with grapefruit-lemonade flavor, it’s impossible not to like.

For Impressing a Date With an Amazing but Unexpected Seafood Pairing

Mourat Collection Val de Loire Chenin Blanc Chardonnay, France, $17

For Impressing A Date With An Amazing But Unexpected Seafood Pairing Mourat Collection Val de Loire Chenin Blanc Chardonnay, France, $17

This medium-bodied white wine is like Elvis Presley: sexy but old fashioned, familiar but energetic. There are few things that turn me on more than “Don’t Be Cruel” or a dinner of a million oysters, but you can take both of those up a notch with the zesty J. Mourat. This natural wine is crisp and striking like a Chenin Blanc, but with the depth of a Chardonnay. And if you don’t like Chardonnay, hey, I didn’t think I did either. TRUST. And if you don’t like oysters, this also compliments nearly everything from the sea. Basically, you have no reason not to be drinking this on your date. Because even if you’re not having seafood, it pairs really well with making out. IDK, it just makes me really want to make out! Like I said, GREAT DATE WINE.

For A Backyard BBQ

Tendu Red, California, $18.99

For A Backyard BBQ Tendu Red, California, $18.99

Steve Matthiasson is one of California’s most respected vintners, making some its most revered wines. And if I could afford drinking $80 wines a night, his would be a part of the line up. Sadly, I am a freelance writer so that is out of the question.

Thank god for his Tendu Red: an effortless and affordable blend of Aglianico, Montepulciano and Barbera fermented in stainless steel, aged in neutral barrels and bottled with zero sulfur. It is one of the freshest wines you’ll ever have, tasting more like newly squeezed cranberries than grapes that have been sitting in a cellar. It comes in a liter, making it perfect for parties because you can share it. But also, you can get in a good couple glasses for yourself. Chill it and serve with anything off the grill or Chili’s To-Go. You think I’m joking but honestly I would Postmates the fuck out of a bottle of Tendu Red and some Chicken Crispers if that was an option.

For Hanging Out Braless

Lelievre Gris de Toul, France, $17.99

For Hanging Out Braless Lelievre Gris de Toul, France, $17.99

I am a salt lover. Like, choose a snack sized bag of Lays Potato Chips over a dozen Sprinkles Cupcakes any day of the week kind of salt lover. And this is one salty rosé, and that’s what makes it my favorite rosé of all time. It’s 90% Gamay, and tastes like if you went to Heaven, then went to the beach, then let a bunch of waves crash on your face THEN drank them. Yes, this rosé is Heaven’s ocean. And that’s why you need to take off your bra and live like you’re Rihanna on a yacht in Heaven: topless. Or at least braless, for god’s sake.

For Discreetly Drinking In Public

Pampelonne Canned Rosé Lime, France, $21.00 for a four pack

For Daily Drinking (Don't Worry, It's Our Secret) Lorenza Rosé, California, $20

I’m not into breaking the law, but I am super into drinking in public. Not like getting wasted, but just enjoying a drink or two at the park, or in a dark alley. Whatever. I’m not saying you should do these things but if you would like to, and I’m not saying you should, but if you do, then do it with Pampelonne. It looks like an energy drink imported from a European vacation resort and tastes exactly like Pellegrino Limonata. Yes, Limonata as in the most refreshing, tangy and perfect carbonated drink ever.

This is awesome for the pool because hey, no glass around the pool. It is also awesome for the beach because hey, it doesn’t look anything like alcohol, which is important when you’re drinking in public. Trust me on this as someone who has gotten a $250 fine for just quietly chilling and drinking wine on the beach.

For Daily Drinking (Don’t Worry, It’s Our Secret)

Lorenza Rosé, California, $20

For Discreetly Drinking In Public Pampelonne Canned Rosé Lime, France, $21.00 a four pack

I first had Lorenza this past spring in Napa. A beautiful model on Instagram told me to try it and I will tell you, I was skeptical. It’s not very often beautiful models are giving me wine recommendations. It turned out that model was winemaker Michele Ouellet and that Lorenza is incredible, and now a house staple. Much like Ouellet’s style outside of wine, this blend of Mourvèdre, Carignan, Cinsault, and Syrah is stunning and clean, with peppery floral notes. It reminds me of faint jasmine floating in on a warm breeze. Thank god I have another bottle in the fridge, because I am getting thirsty just thinking about it.

For Celebrating/Dancing In Your Underwear To Drake For No Reason

Graham Beck Brut Rosé, South Africa, $13.99

For Celebrating/Dancing In Your Underwear To Drake For No Reason Graham Beck Brute Rose

I love this wine because you can get it basically anywhere but it is so good. The color of it is the most beautiful, perfect, soft salmon. I’m not a huge fan of pink, but god damn do I love a good salmon hue. And it’s so delicious. This 54% Pinot Noir and 41% Chardonnay blend tastes like a bright summer afternoon munching on watermelon and fresh picked grapefruits with your best friends.

The carbonation is bold, which I love, with a really fresh finish. Its serious sparkle makes this bottle feels like a celebration, so you can cheers to a new promotion, the new shoes you practically stole on sale, or that you just showered, because that in itself can be an accomplishment.

Marissa A. Ross is the creator of Wine. All the Time. She’s an LA-based writer, comedian, and self-proclaimed wino. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram. 

Illustrations by Autumn Kimball

Did this just make you thirsty? See our picks to the best margarita in NYC. Alcohol not your thing? Try an iced coffee. Or cold-brew it yourself. 

Get more Pop Culture ?