Put a Little Sparkle in your Summer

"We talk regularly about Champagne and how it can define a moment, or even create one, but the same applies to most any sparkling wine," writes Richard Fadeley. Why not look at the "second stringers" of sparkling wine? "They are not too shabby in their own right." Here's his report.

Gerard Bertrand

Gérard Bertrand 2011 Corbières ($12.99)

A characteristic blend of the Languedoc grapes Grenache,Syrah and Mourvèdre, this is an inky dark purple wine. Showing earthy black plums and blackberries on the nose and palate, it's full and rich, good structure and balance with fresh-fruit acidity and soft tannins at 13.5 percent alcohol. It's an excellent food wine, with some potential for short to midterm cellaring. Simple Languedoc reds, like their cousins from the Southern Rhône, pair easily with red meats, grilled chicken and cheese. I find they work very well with Italian-style red-sauced pasta, too.

More about this wine

Taylor Eason

Rosés to write home about

"Although rosé wines are quite tasty all year round, summer is high season for all things chilled and pink," writes Taylor. "Rosés are custom-made for thirst quenching. It only makes it better that they're affordable too." Taylor's been exploring the California dry rosé scene. Here's her report.