Rose and bubbles are perfect for summer sipping and pairing, and you don’t have to splurge to get a great one!

Baby, it’s hot outside – which means we need summer bubbles and roses to cool things down and perk up our palates for all that delicious summer salad and grill fare. I have recently discovered some great bottlings that are made even greater by their bargain price tag – literally you can get 2-, 3-, or 4-for one compared to the popular-but-pricier brands out there, so I wanted to pass along my picks before you splurge. Instead, save your money for the freshest organic veggies at the farmers market, succulent lobsters for your clambake pot, or some awesome shrimp and steaks for the barbie – yes you can drink bubbles and rose with steak!

Bargain Bubbles – I’ll start you off with a surprise pick that’s worth the search (though we found it at Whole Foods) – Graham Beck Brut from South Africa. It’s amazing and tasted blind, stands tall against true French Champagne. Next, consider Prosecco which you know can be a bargain, but now with its popularity there are so many out there it is hard to know what to choose. My two favorites are Mionetto Prosecco DOC Brut, and LaMarca Prosecco DOC, a Gallo-owned property so you can find it everywhere. From Spain, basic Cava is nearly always a bargain price but not always great. I discovered Cavas Hill Brut late last year and it is a real standout. I also love Segura Viudas Aria Brut.

Real-Deal Roses – I’d better whisper this:  the Angel-series roses and some others are out there for (sometimes way) more than twenty bucks. I am suggesting roses under $10 that in my view top them taste-wise, so why would you pay more?  First a surprise: Villa Wolf Pinot Noir Rose from Germany. The mouth-feel on this rose is mind-blowing and the watermelon-saline flavor just irresistible.  Find this wine! This one, too: Chateau La Sauvageonne rose from southern France. It’s another textural tease like the Villa Wolf, with more red fruit flavors of pomegranate and currant. And here’s one that’s in nearly every supermarket chain, suggesting a well-deserved popularity: Vidal-Fleury, also from the south of France.  I have seen as low as $6.99 a bottle. Enjoy!