I may be imagining things, but I think it was my ol’ mama who once told me, “Son, life is like a mixed case of wine: You never know what you're gonna get until you pull the cork."
A New York public relations firm with a good list of wine clients decided to send me such a case of wine — bubblies, rosés, whites, reds — from wineries around the world that it thought would go well with hot-weather cuisine. Think of it as a “summer case.”
Most of the wines are reasonably priced, under $20, except for an affordable Champagne. And all of them are enjoyable to drink — although certainly some more so than others. As my mama advised, though, you don’t know what you’re going to get until you start pulling corks (or twisting off caps).
Willm Crémant d’Alsace Blanc de Noirs NV ($16)
Totally pinot noir, light, crisp, and refreshing with flavors of new apples.
Laurent-Perrier Champagne Ultra Brut NV ($50)
Quite enjoyable — full-bodied with notes of mellow apples, yeasty bread, and flavorful bitters around the edges.
Château Bonnet Bordeaux 2014 ($13)
A blend of sauvignon blanc, sémillon, and muscadelle; a little light, but with good grassy and lime flavors — balanced, but not taut with acidity.
Esporão Alentejano Verdelho 2015 ($14)
Quite granular in a good way, with green and tropical fruits and a touch of sweetness.
Hugel & Fils Cuvée les Amours Pinot Blanc 2013 ($15)
Tart and light, if perhaps a little too ephemeral, disappearing too quickly from the palate.
Elena Walch Pinot Grigio 2015 ($16)
From one of the Alto Adige region’s most reliable producers, this wine has soft pastel aromas, a good mixture of creamy and savory notes, and a good mouth feel.
Château de Campuget Tradition Costières de Nimes Rosé 2014 ($10)
Lean and lively, with enjoyable, slightly tart strawberry flavors ending with a touch of cream.
Falesco Vitiano Rosato 2015 ($12)
A sangiovese, merlot, and cabernet blend from Umbria, with bright fruitiness and a little sweetness, but a lean finish — a good poolside wine.
Esporão Monte Velho Alentejano 2014 ($10)
A scrapper of a red made from indigenous Portuguese grapes (aragonez, trincadeira, touriga nacional) — gamey, sharp, and lean with tart red fruit flavors.
Saint Cosme Côtes du Rhône 2014 ($15)
A very nice red, with black raspberry flavors, but could use a bit more acid and structure.
Falesco Tellus Merlot 2013 ($16)
Muted dark cherry flavors with some savory notes, but a little spongy on the palate.
Château Gigault Cuvée Viva Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux 2010 ($19)
A mature red with satisfying cherry fruitiness and nice savory notes, light-bodied but well-structured.