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.

Il Bastardo

Il Bastardo 2013 Rosso di Toscana Sangiovese ($8.99)

Slightly hazy reddish purple with a garnet edge. Smells like a Tuscan red, dark cherries and dried fruit. Tart and dry, black cherries and a warm impression of raisins. Astringent tannins and a touch of heat in the finish that feels a bit warmer than its claimed 13% alcohol. Certainly "rustic" in style, but works well with food, particularly Italian fare that celebrates ripe, juicy summer tomatoes.

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.