Summer wine recommendations from Lush Wine and Spirits

Just wanted to share this lovely list of summer wine suggestions that I received from Lush Wine and Spirits in Chicago. If you're heading out for a summer picnic or looking for a new taste to enjoy on your deck or in your garden, here are a few recommendations, some as low as $10 a bottle.

Lush Wine and Spirits, Chicago's go-to wine shop for eclectic wines, rare beers and eccentric spirits, is celebrating the season by offering guests a selection of highly recommended wines for summer imbibing. Whether heading to a picnic, a BBQ, or an al fresco BYOB restaurant, a perfect summer wine can heighten any experience this season. Proprietor Mitch Einhorn oversees the selection of wines offered at all three Lush locations (West Town, Roscoe Village and University Village), and has hand-picked his favorite wines for this summer season. Both wine aficionados and cork newbies can head over to any of the Lush locations to taste these wine picks and bring them home to sip all summer long.

Soalheiro Alvarinho
The Soalheiro Vinho Verde stands out in its use of only one grape varietal - Alvarinho. The grapes are planted in granite soil and receive just the right amount of sunlight to perfectly ripen Alvarinho. This 2011 is a true reflection of its especially warm, sunny vintage which lead to concentrated flavors and a slightly higher alcohol content than is common in Vinho Verde. It has concentrated floral and citrus aromas with crisp tropical fruit flavors and a fresh mineral finish. It makes for a great aperitif and pairs well with seafood, poultry and grilled vegetables. ($29.50)

Quinta da Lixa Vanhão
A pure red-fleshed and red-skinned grape, Vinhão is at once rustic andcontemporary. Rugged, tart and ideal for Ibérico, country jamón, salt cod and eel, this very chappy red has grape tannins and a medium body with resinous acidity. Blackberry and balsamic flavors add layers of complexity. As it opens up, this glass-staining wine also fleshes out, finishing with a lingering vibrancy. This wine comes from a newly renovated cellar and a producer who is a purist at heart. The Meireles family has added no extra embellishments or unnecessary technology to their operation. Vinhão, famous for its biting acidity and dark, opaque color, is the most widely planted grape in the Vinho Verde/Minho region. The flesh of this dark-skinned grape is red, yielding already tinted juice that darkens further as the must macerates on the tannic skins. ($12.75)

Anjos-Vinho Verde
Portuguese for "Angels," this heavenly, light, crisp white wine has the tiniest bit of spritz to tickle your tongue. It is a blend of 40% Arinto, 30% Trajadura and 30% Louriero, and with its fresh green apple, grapefruit, tangy lemon and wildflower flavors, is a divine warm-weather sipper... on its own or with a meal. It is practically summer in a bottle. Pair it with that awesome grilled seafood dinner you have planned (it'd be killer with oysters too!). ($10.00)

Lothian Chardonnay
The maiden vintage from Lothian Vineyards' single hectare of Chardonnay washarvested at optimal ripeness. The fruit was cooled prior to crushing, with a period of skin contact followed by light pressing. Fermentation was started in stainless steel with a combination of ambient and cultured yeast strains. The fermenting juice was racked into a selection of French barrique (15% new), followed by a period of intensive battonage to bolster the wine's mid-palate. Ten months of barrel maturation on the fine lees fleshed out the wine and added richness. Prior to bottling, Lothian Vineyards Chardonnay was lightly filtered to preserve the integrity of this Cape wine. ($39.25)

Lothian Pinot Noir
Lothian Vineyards Pinot Noir has a bouquet abounding with ripe strawberry, blood-orange, white pepper, nutmeg and floral notes. The Pinot Noir's medium-bodied palate is a mixture of sour black cherry, ripe strawberry and tobacco spice, with undertones of weathered leather - all of which are tempered with fine oak, mineral and savory flavors. Carefully cellared, this Cape wine will develop complexity for well in excess of a decade. When young, it will partner perfectly with roast quail, duck, cherry pie, cure meats and fine cheeses. ($44.25)

With Mitch Einhorn's thorough descriptions of his summer wine picks, every wine drinker can leave Lush Wine & Spirits confident that they have chosen the perfect selection for their summertime drinking occasion. Not only will customers leave knowing their wine was highly recommended for the season, but they can now be experts on their chosen bottle. After all, education is the most important component at Lush.

About Lush Wine and Spirits
Lush is a local neighborhood-based wine shop specializing in eclectic wines, eccentric spirits and rare brews. The helpful staff of self-proclaimed "wine geeks" help guide customers to tasty bottles, pour tasting samples of small production wines and conduct informal wine education. Cork dorks, hop heads, malt mavens and spirit aficionados have something unique to look forward to each and every time they visit Lush. Lush also customizes private events at the shop or off-site, holds wine education courses, corporate gifting programs or any wine-related event, gift or occasion. Locations include West Town(1412 West Chicago), Roscoe Village (2232 West Roscoe) and University Village (1257 South Halsted).