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A taste of Greece, a chilled red or 'brose': 4 budget-friendly wines to kickstart your summer

CNBC logo CNBC 5/27/2018 Erin Barry

  • Food and Wine's top editor shares a few of his wine picks for the summer.
  • His selections include an assortment from each major wine variety.

Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial kick-off to summer. So what better way to celebrate than with a glass of wine that won't break the bank?

Food & Wine Executive Wine Editor Ray Isle shared his picks for the summer season with CNBC's "On the Money." So whether you're a fan of red, white or something in between, Isle has a budget friendly pick for you.

Light and white

2017 Santo Assyrtiko Santorini ($15)

If you're a fan of crisp white wines, Isle says this is a perfect summer choice.

The wine grape variety in this bottle is indigenous to the Greek island Santorini, and Isle says it has the lightness of a Pinot Grigio.

"It's kind of got the citrus-ness of a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, and at the same time it doesn't have that grassy kind of peppery aspect," the wine editor told CNBC.

So take a sip of this, and Isle said it can make you think of all the beautiful white washed buildings on Santorini that overlook the Aegean Sea.

a small boat in a body of water with Santorini in the background© Provided by CNBC

Rose all day

Jacques Florent Rose ($30/3 liters)

If you're looking for a wine that can easily be carried to the beach or a picnic (or anywhere that glass isn't allowed), Isle recommended this as a great choice: The wine comes in a cylinder.

As for the flavor, Isle notes this rose is "crisp, light, doesn't have a bite to it."

While $30 sounds like a splurge, it actually contains 3 liters which holds the equivalent of four bottles.

Rose has grown in popularity in recent years. According to Nielsen, from August 2016 to August 2017 sales of rosé climbed 53 percent by volume.

"The growth rate of rose has been insane," Isle told CNBC.

While it's most popular with millennial women, men have also taken to the pink drink — and they are affectionately called "Brose."

Chilled red

2017 Santa Julia Tintillo Malbec/Bonarda ($13)

Normally reds are served at room temperature — but a Santa Julia isn't your typical red.

"It is a wine that the winemaker distinctly made…to be served chilled," said Isle. "It's lighter in alcohol, a little less tannin, made to be cool."

He added: "It has the crispness of a white wine and yet it absolutely is a red wine."

Wine with heart

2015 Purple Heart Red ($19)

If you're a fan of red wines, Isle said this particular Sonoma wine is a perfect pick for Memorial Day weekend.

The wine blend is primarily Merlot and Zinfandel, but what truly makes the wine special is its mission to help veterans.

As of its 3-year anniversary, Purple Heart Wines said it has donated $60,000 to the Purple Heart Foundation, the organization that helps wounded veterans.

The Purple Heart Wines project was initiated by brothers Marc and Peter Mondavi, Jr. Their father, Peter Mondavi, is a World War II veteran. In addition, the winemaker for this 2015 vintage, John Moynier, is an Air Force veteran.


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