Cheap Wine That Doesn't Suck: Centine 2008 Rosé
With a flavor profile that encompasses light strawberry-raspberry, subtle floral-violets, and tangy lemon-orange, it plays well with food ranging from burgers to grilled fish. And its light body, relatively low alcohol, and general absence of oak make it easy drinking when summer's heat and humidity can melt the skin right off your bones.
The French have had a lock on this style of rosé for about a million years, but I recently tasted an Italian bottling that puts its own spin on this ideal summertime wine. It's the 2008 Centine Rosé, a blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot grapes that offers those smoky-dusky nuances I find characteristic of Italian wines with a hint of minerality and tart strawberry-orange fruit.
It's quite crisp and refreshing and not at all sweet, and at around $12 a bottle, it's an affordable pleasure. It can't make the season's heat and humidity go away, but it can make them a bit more tolerable.