For easy, breezy, delicious summer wine-sipping, look no further than New York’s own vineyards. We asked the team at Astor Wines what they’re drinking while the days are long and hot. While we’d happily put our drinking in the hands of any of their staff, we were were especially excited to get recommendations from Astor’s head wine buyer, Lorena Ascencios. Her top 10 wines from the region range from classic whites, reds and rosés to spunky pet-nats and cider-spiked specialties. “Diversity is the name of the game,” she said. Every kind of wine? Every kind of occasion—from musts for long, lazy evenings at the table to smuggled bottles for a beach picnic. (But you didn’t hear that from us.)
Want something straightforwardly delicious? Try the Chardonnay from Onabay Vineyards or the juicy Festival Red from Paumanok Winery, both on Long Island’s North Fork. But “If you want something more off-the-beaten-path, the Chepika or the Aaron Burr cider are the way to go.”
Here’s what’s on Ascencios’—and, now, our—summertime local must-drink list:
Cabernet Franc Rosato 2017
Channing Daughters Winery, Bridgehampton, NY ($16.96 for 750 ml)
Channing Daughters, on Long Island’s South Fork, produces “a multitude of rosés” each year, said Ascencios. “While we cannot buy them all, we always choose some favorites.” This one is among them and, she said, will inspire you to drink more Cabernet Franc.
Elizabeth’s Vineyard Cabernet Franc 2016
Eminence Road Farm Winery, Long Eddy, NY ($26.96 for 750 ml)
Eminence Road is “easily my favorite winery from the Finger Lakes,” said Ascencios. “Their cool-climate wines are thirst-quenching”—a.k.a. perfect for summertime—and “their style is rigorously honest and emphasizes the true nature of the grape.”
Gently Dry Vignoles 2015
Keuka Lake Vineyards, Hammondsport, NY ($16.96 for 750 ml)
This delicate, dry, and aromatic Vignoles “is well worth exploring and will open your mind” to the hybrid grape.
Dry Riesling, Finger Lakes 2016
Herman J. Wiemer, Dundee, NY ($19.99 for 750 ml)
“Riesling is by definition a mandatory drink during the summer,” said Ascencios. And yes, “this one is dry yet lively, and peach-fruit-driven as ever.”
Dr. Konstantin Frank Wines, Hammondsport, NY ($18.99 for 750 ml)
“You can go to the Republic of Georgia to drink Rkatsiteli or you can turn to the Finger Lakes and have an excellent example from the Dr. Frank winery,” said Ascencios. ’Nuff said.
Delaware Pétillant Nature 2016
Chepika Wines, Barrington, NY ($34.96 for 750 ml)
“We know of no other offering like this and we’re proud to say it’s from New York,” said Ascencios. Delaware, a white grape native to North America, is once again being cultivated in the Finger Lakes region. And in this case, “It comes as a pétillant naturel wine, meaning the fermentation is finished in the bottle, giving it a nice sparkle. Delaware is aromatic, citric, and delicious in many ways.”
Festival Red 2014
Paumanok Vineyards, Aquebogue, NY ($17.96 for 750 ml)
This juicy red comes from a vineyard known for producing “classic wines from Long Island, many of which are Bordelais in style.” Ascencios recommends giving this wine, which is lighter in tannins, a slight chill and packing it for the beach or a picnic. We’re in!
Aaron Burr Cidery, Wurtsboro, NY ($26.99 for 750 ml)
It’s true—this one’s not technically straight-up wine. But it is part wine, and it fits right into our summer-drinking wishlist: crisp, bright, and quaffable. Plus, Aaron Burr Cidery, based in Sullivan County, is one of Ascencios’ favorites. “In addition to foraging wild apples, they have a few acres of orchards [devoted] to heirloom [apple] varieties,” she said. “This bottle is made from the Traminette grape and an heirloom apple variety. Unique in character, always.”
“Yellow Crown” Chardonnay 2014
Onabay Vineyards, Southold, NY ($19.96 for 750 ml)
This bottle, from “consistently delicious” Onabay Vineyards, “is an homage to Chablis,” said Ascencios. It’s got “fresh acidity, luscious orchard fruit, and great body—all from the North Fork of Long Island. A wine that will please anyone.”
Wölffer No. 139 Dry Rosé Cider 4-pack
Wölffer Estate, Sagaponack, NY ($16.99 for 355 ml)
“This four-pack of rosé cider screams of summer,” said Ascencios, “and for those who can’t make it to the Hamptons every weekend, why not drink something in the city from the Hamptons instead?” Good point! “The style is fresh and easy, juicy and bubbly all at once.”