What defines a summer wine? With rosé finally breaking free of its strictly spring/summer boundaries and more people recognizing that reds can be successfully chilled, it’s time to rethink what makes a bottle fit for the sunny weather:

  • Refreshing: A summer wine hits the spot when temperatures hit 90, maybe even leading to some lip-smacking “aahs.”
  • Easy to drink: There’s a time and place for complex nuances, and also for that easy-drinking bottle that everyone can get behind; summer is time for the latter.
  • Looks good in the glass: We don’t drink a wine solely for its appearance, but there’s something about catching the spirit of summer in a glass and capturing that in a picture that says “summer” and creates golden-tinged memories.

Finally, every summer wine should pair easily with a healthy, quick dish – no one wants to stand over a hot stove any longer than necessary. Each dish paired with the summer wines below is made using healthy Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil (17 oz. SRP $7.90) to keep yourself in top form for the beach:

Refreshing: Tenuta Ca’ Bolani Sauvignon DOC Superiore (SRP $16.99): Of all wines, this is the one you should pair with your spring and summer veggies. Light, crisp, and refreshing, this is the rare white that goes well with asparagus, notoriously difficult to find a match for. Hailing from Friuli-Venezia Giulia where wild asparagus grows in abundance, this Sauvignon Blanc attests that, “what grows together, goes together.” Its high acidity is the perfect match with Lemon Artichoke and Asparagus Pasta Salad.

Easy to drink: Rocca di Montemassi Sasseo Primitivo IGT (SRP: $15.99): No summer wines list is complete without a barbecue pairing. The Sasseo Primitivo comes from Puglia in southern Italy, where summers are long, hot, lazy, and involve “la grigliata:” grill-outs with plenty of meats, sausages, and spiedini, grilled skewers of lamb or beef, charred to perfection over the embers. The Sasseo’s juicy, medium body holds up well to a brief chill in the fridge, and its rich fruits and sweet herbal notes pair great with these Grilled Lamb Skewers and Chimichurri Sauce.

Looks good in the glass: Dos Almas Brut (SRP: $15): Whether you’re lounging on the beach blanket or gazing at the city lights on a terrace-top table, there’s no denying these Chilean bubbles look good in the glass. 90% Chardonnay, 10% Moscatel, and aged only in stainless steel, it has citrus notes of grapefruit, lime, and soft floral notes. Neither sweet nor bone-achingly dry, this pairs well with fresh, young cheeses, fish, and white meat: try the Peach and Tomato Caprese Salad, which is as summery as it gets.