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Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas

The best wines to drink this summer

It's all about the pairings. Chicago’s vino experts tell us what we should drink during the season’s best outings.

Written by
Elizabeth Atkinson

David Bohula, Sommelier, the Blanchard
While lazing by the pool...

Nothing goes together like bubbles and the pool, says Bohula. For a refreshing and affordable pick, a bottle of the Segura Viudas brut ($9) pairs well with fruit or sorbet. Get crazy and add orange juice or crème de cassis.

Liz Mendez, proprietor and beverage director, Vera 
While hanging out at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion and the Great Lawn for a concert...

For invigorating, easy drinking, Mendez says to grab a Nadler Grüner Veltliner ($12), a white wine, and pair it with soft cheese and charcuterie. Or splurge on a bottle of Pierre Paillard Grand Cru brut ($45), because “anytime we can be outside in Chicago is a celebration.” Pair it with potato chips and Thai chicken salad.

Carl Moberg, wine director, Webster’s Wine Bar
While hiking at the Forest Preserve...

Moberg says wines from the Loire Valley in France have a freshness that is especially thirst-quenching when taking a picnic break on a hike. Grab a cheap liter of 2015 Le Sot de l’Ange Boutanche rosé ($30), or live a little and pick up the 2012 Catherine et Pierre Breton Les Perrières (approximately $30), a cabernet franc with an intense minerality that’s still easy to sip. Pair either wine with local charcuterie—Moberg likes the selection at Butcher & Larder— plus a baguette and local pickles.

Craig Sindelar, cofounder and director of operations, Band of Bohemia
While sipping on a BYOB patio...

Enjoy a sparkling txakoli like Ameztoi Txakolina ($19) while sitting on a BYOB patio—Sindelar’s favorite is Fin Sushi Bar. The wine is bright and briny, with a fresh apple and lime nose, but has a vibrant and refreshing mouthfeel that goes well with vinegary marinated anchovies. Or, he says to go all out and pair garlic sautéed shrimp with a bottle of Txomin Etxaniz txakoli ($22), which has a delicate apple, cucumber and pear perfume with a slightly acidic and carbonated palate but a persistent and composed finish. The balanced fruit profile and the structured acidity from the vino are strong enough to cut through garlic sauce while still marrying well with sweet, succulent shrimp.

Jean Tomaro, beverage director, Hogsalt Hospitality (Au Cheval, Bavette’s and Maude’s Liquor Bar, among others)
While grilling at a barbecue...

Rosé is great for a barbecue, and the Domaine Figueirasse rosé ($12) is the perfect choice, with fresh, bright notes of watermelon and orange zest, says Tomaro. For a fancy barbecue, pair your grilling skills with Ruinart rosé ($55), a mash-up of rich berry tones and notes.

All prices are from Binny’s Beverage Depot (various locations), except 2012 Catherine et Pierre Breton Les Perrières, from Red and White Wines.

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