Southern Hospitality: Summer Wine Picks

summer wine picks July is my favorite time of year. Why? Because it's patio season! That means it is prime time to overindulge in some easy-drinking summer wines, which don't get enough love if you ask me. And I don't even care if you turn your red wine-drinkin' nose up, because that just means more for me. Here's what whites you should be drinking right now:

1. Rosé - Don't worry, rosé is not the same wine as the infamous white zinfandel, but unfortunately they do share the same color. To get that stunning pink hue, rosés are allowed a brief dunk in their red grape skins—the longer the contact the more vibrant the shade. Rosés are a fairly delicate wine, with hints of strawberry, cherry, and raspberry. They are ideal for warmer weather, since the refreshing fruit flavors pair so well with food. Not to mention they are a great value for the price, so grab a bottle, or five, for your next picnic or barbecue. (Dixie Caviar faves: Domaine Houchart Rosé, $11 and Robert Sinskey Vin Gris, $30)

2. Sancerre - Sancerre is a famous appellation in the central Loire valley of France and produces a mighty fine Sauvignon Blanc. Sancerre's soil is known for both its high calcium "chalk" and flint content, which translates into the flavors of its wine. A Sancerre Sauvignon Blanc should taste bright and fresh, with a good bit of minerality and just a hint of fruit. This cult-favorite is usually quite subtle, and very different from its New Zealand counterpart, which is known more for its bolder, grass-like tendencies. Although a good Sancerre sits on the pricier end of my "everyday" drinking budget, a bottle of this makes a fabulous hostess gift when you need to impress. (Dixie Caviar fave: Remy Pannier Sancerre, $22)

3. Vinho Verde - If you aren't already drinking this Portuguese white, you are missing out on the ultimate summer sipper. The name "green wine" doesn't stem from the color—which does have a pale green tinge—but that it is "young" wine and should be enjoyed the same year it is bottled. The best part about Vinho Verde is its slight effervescence, which gives it an almost celebratory feel. But the real cause for celebration? It averages around $8 a bottle. Grab as many as you can fit in your cart and drink on up. (Dixie Caviar fave: Casal Garcia Vinho Verde, $7)

4. Albariño - Albariño is the grape used in a Spanish wine of the same name, which is currently enjoying a surge in popularity around the United States—and with good reason. Albariño is clean, bright, and very easy-drinking. Its crisp, lemony flavors make it suitable for slinging back as a summer apéritif; its oily finish make it ideal for pairing with a heavier seafood dinner. A bottle should cost around $10 and no more than $20 for the very best. (Dixie Caviar fave: Nora Albariño, $16)

5. Prosecco - Well I guess I saved the best for last, and it shouldn't need much introduction. Prosecco is the very delicious sparkling wine hailing from my beloved Italy. The Prosecco grape yields soft, peach-scented flavors, while the wine itself tends towards the drier side of the (sparkling) spectrum. This bubbly is best served young and well-chilled, and might I add that it tastes quite nice in a Peach-Thyme Bellini, one of my signature summer cocktails. And when you've got a drink this good, who needs Champagne? (Dixie Caviar fave: Riondo Prosecco, $11)