By Gagan Sharma

Summer wines are a little tricky to pick. We don’t want overly sticky sweet drops, nor does the tannic and heavy red’s masculinity appeal to us anymore. What works best are light and flavoursome wines that do not end up making us lazy, but instead have the ability to add character to any afternoon, brunch, or party. This summer, don’t stock your wine rack with expensive wines you picked up from the duty free store on your last trip. Instead, pick from these value-for-money drops and let them surprise you!

I pick my wines on only one consideration – drinkability; the ease of being to consume the wine. Summers make us lethargic, and nothing hits the spot like a cold, refreshing beverage. These wines will be lining up my wine rack this summer without, of course, burning a hole in my pocket. It’s the season for those fruity, citrus Whites, the Sparklings, some Roses, and even some Reds. Bet your money on this selection for your next social gathering, and give your friends and family a taste of some delicious weather and occasion specific wines.  

Last piece of advice – no amount of ice is ever enough; serve chilled!

Lindemans Brut Cuvee

Sparkling wines are a good alternative to heavy Champagnes. Not only are they simple on the palate, but are light on the pocket as well. This one is amongst my favourites from the bubbly section. It is light and fruity on the palate, with a creamy mouthfeel, packed with a citrus punch, and a mouth-watering acidity. A good option to serve as an aperitif and at lazy brunches, with a range of cuisines.

Chandon Rose

When the French Champagne giants decided to plant their vines in India, we didn’t realize just how much there’d be on offer. Produced by the Moet & Chandon group in the wine capital of India, Nasik, Chandon Rose packs a punch of elegance and style. Sturdy, uncomplicated, fruit-rich, warmth of fresh black spices, and a lift of floral perfumes to round it all up, it has almost everything that a good Rose sparkling must have. 

Fratelli Rose

A popular option for the ladies, and a metro-sexual symbol for the men, Roses are marking a revolution in the country. Leading from the front is this Indian drop, with its buttery palate with essences of strawberries, raspberries, and red cherries that capture and linger for long. A great sipping wine that’s surprisingly good with pasta and mildly-spiced gravy dishes.

Jacobs Creek Reserve Chardonnay

For those who love their oak-heavy drops, give this one a try. An Aussie icon of this style; ripe white and stoned fruits with soft sweetlime acidity, and a layer of buttery and spicy oak at back. Drink it by itself or try it with some fried and roasted dishes. I like it with my Dal Makhani and mushroom dishes.

Fairview Sauvignon Blanc

No summer wine list is ever complete without a crisp Sauvignon Blanc. This one will lift your senses with its aromatic appeal, with nuances of gooseberries, asparagus, peaches, and a layer of freshly cut grass. It may not sound appealing, but with the refreshing lime zest acidity in its back pack, this wine steals the show. One wine that I will always have at my dinner table; usually the favorite and the first to finish at any gathering.

Chateau St Michele Riesling

Who needs those cloying, sugary, sticky, sweet wines in the heat of early summers? Instead, try this Riesling that has a tinge of natural fruity sweetness, with the delectable flavours of peaches, pears, marmalade, orange blossom, grape compote, and a subtle aftertaste of white flowers. Its golden rimmed appearance and those sweet perfumed aromas will leave you bewitched. Hold on to your bottle!

Torres Vina Sol

When in doubt, have a charismatic white like this Spanish wine. Crisp, minerally, citrus, ripe, and sturdy; a light-bodied wine that has no pretence. If the zest acidity of Sauvignon Blanc and the oaky-masculinity of Chardonnay puts you off, and you are seeking a mid way, this will be a perfect option.

Torres Ibericos Tempranillo

Delhi saw the arrival of this wine fairly recently, and it has left us {at least me} impressed with its quite subtlety and elegance. An easy to drink, fruity and warm spice oriented wine that opens up a little while after being poured. Having been named after the oak tree ‘Ibericos’ in the vineyards, the palate has a thin layer of sweet oak that makes it drinkable, approachable, and delectable. A cold cut platter with aged ham, salamis, cheese, and tapas  is a perfect marriage for this red, as are mildly spiced red meat dishes.

Santa Rita 120 Merlot

Probably the freshest and the most impressive Chilean Merlot on the shelves. Not only is it value-for-money, but what is appreciable is its non-complex palate, with a great balance of fruit and refreshing gentle acidity. Soft tannins coat the palate with a lovely furriness, making you want to return to the wine and have another sip. A must try!

Robert Mondavi Pinot Noir

An ideal evening sipper. Pinots are a great way to start any meal – light, fragrant, sweet red fruit bursts on the palate, and silky light tannins and a quaint acidic bursts at the back. This not only works as an aperitif, but is so delicious that you’d end up drinking it through dinner as well.