Once a year in New England, we see the light at the end of the long winter tunnel. We all know it’s best not to waste even a single second of this short reprieve, because in a blink of an eye we’ll be sinking back into wintertime hibernation. Since the season’s too short to be wasted on anything but solid fun-in-the-sun hangs, it’s definitely too short to be wasted on crappy wine. Keeping with that spirit, I’ve compiled a list of must-try bevs that are not only perfect for all your time spent sun worshiping with a cool beverage in hand, but will also help you forget all about the god-awful week we spent dealing with the Laurel vs. Yanny debate. Without further ado, I present to you, the Top Pool Wines of 2018.
Underwood Riesling Radler is a nifty little concoction from the brainiacs over at Union Wine Co. who decided to create a seasonal beverage that would be a killer cool water companion. This spritzy Radler is basically a wine cooler for a new generation, composed of the perfect trifecta of thirst-quenching ingredients. It’s part riesling (aka, the unofficial wine of summer), part grapefruit juice and part malt and hops all wrapped up in a cute little can whose label looks like it was made from the upholstery of the “Golden Girls” couch. Underwood has always done a great job of providing great wine at an affordable price, but they really nailed it once they started canning their Oregon-bred wines into 375ml cans, the equivalent of half a bottle of wine. That means they’re safe to bring on a picnic, on boats or, you guessed it, even in the pool. Fruity notes of melon and apricot play nicely with the added grapefruit juice and earthy hop characteristic, while the light fizziness helps keep the sweetness level in check and cleanses the palate, leaving you feeling refreshed. At 3% ABV, you won’t be getting too tipsy off a can either (though, as always, you should consume any alcoholic beverage responsibly) so that’s what keeps it in the “safe for the pool” zone. The Radler is also super food-worthy as it complements all summertime fare and even shines with spicy Mexican or Thai food. Unfortunately, the Underwood Riesling Radler is a limited release offering, so be sure to scoop up as much of this as you can while it’s still around, and channel your inner Blanche Devereaux all summer long.
If you’re in the mood to transport yourself via alcoholic beverages to some warm tropical beaches in your mind, then I’ve got the wine pick for you! Legado del Moncayo Dry Muscat is the quintessential white wine for hot, need-to-be-in-a-body-of-water days and warm, breezy nights. The beautifully sun-drenched golden yellow hue of the wine evokes the feeling of having a cup full of sunshine, while the tropical fruit and floral aromatics envelop your senses, making you feel like you’re in a private beach club resort instead of your friend’s Walmart-purchased inflatable pool. Though this Muscat is quite fruit-forward, it finishes exceptionally dry, leaving you with clean, citrus fruit flavors on your palate, sans the thirst-provoking residual sugar. Tap into a bottle of this Spanish white wine and let yourself transform into a Hawaiian Tropics bronzed beauty while singing “Despacito” at the top of your lungs.
Now I know when you started reading this article you probably didn’t think the end result would be reading about a sparkling wine from Maine, but trust me, the folks over at Oyster River are the real deal. The Morphos is a pétillant-naturel, or pét-nat, which is basically champagne’s cooler, more down-to-earth cousin you secretly smoke cigarettes with at family events. Pét-nat’s bubbles are caused by bottling wine that hasn’t finished fermenting; the active yeasts gobble up the unfermented sugars causing the bubbles. Voilà! Pét-nat! Consisting of a 50/50 blend of cayuga and seyval blanc (sourced from the Finger Lakes in New York), The Morphos is a wine I rely heavily on for summer sipper recommendations and often describe it as “adult limonada.” Fresh and citrusy, bubbly and refreshing, this wine really hits the mark when looking for an easy drinker. Totally unrefined and unfiltered, the cloudy-hued wine is a stunning example of the low-tech approach to making wine. Tart apple and lemony citrus notes on the palate are balanced by the soft bubbly effervescence, making this a real crowd-pleasing thirst quencher. While it’s great to occasionally treat ourselves to rare, nerdy bottles of grower champagne, Morphos’ price point and low alcohol sippability lends itself to be an everyday drinker with an easy-to-swallow price point.