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.

Maison Legrand

Maison Legrand 2012 Côtes de Gascogne Gros Manseng ($9.99)

Transparent pale gold. Hints of apples and pears on the nose. Rather rich in texture, with flavor aromatics reminiscent of mango and peach. Dry and freshly acidic to back it up, with light, food-friendly 12% alcohol. Interesting wine from an offbeat variety, Gros Manseng, that doesn't immediately spark comparison with more familiar whites. Fine as a summer aperitif, its fresh aromatics and light alcohol also suggested an affinity for spicy ethnic fare.

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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.