Favorite summer wines?
I've got a few standby wines that I drink, chilled and not, in the summer, starting with anything from Bonny Doon and TJ's Vinho Verde, but I'm wondering what reds under $20 you like to drink with summer cookouts and lighter cooking-- preferably some that can stand a little chilling.
Does it have to be red? Because, though I've long been a strictly red drinker, I've gotten hooked on an unusual white that's just smashing with summer foods and in summer heat. Torrontes. Specifically, the Torrontes from Crios de Susana Balbo. It has a unique bouquet – both minerally and flowery (violets), and is very soft in the mouth, though it has good alcohol. If I recall your location correctly, you can find it at Big Y with the Argentinian whites. @ $15/bottle. There's a lovely rosé from Crios, as well.
And you can't go wrong with a nice Tavel (very dry rosé from the Rhone valley).
If it has to be red, a young Zinfandel actually likes a slight chill. Haven't been drinking much Zin lately, though, so I can't recommend a specific one.
It's a bit costly for every day drinking (at least for me), but Chateaneuf du Pape blanc are the ones that are doing it with the extra 'aaahhhh' for me this summer.
Vieux Telegraphe 2002 and 2003 "La Crau" have been excellent aperitif so far this summer.
In the past several years several of the producers in Napa have done very nice Rose's. Robert Sinskey's Vin Gris of Pinot Noir is outstanding and is under $20. Elyse does a field blend Rose that's $15 and is excellent. Had one at Markham on Saturday that was also very good, again, pinot based, and well under $20. All of these wines a dry and outstanding served chilled.
There are several others also, Miner Family's Rosoto, Augar-Martucchi has one.
I like a nice light New Zealand pinot noir such as Kim Crawford or Sherwood. Great BBQ/picnic wines and good lightly chilled, screw-tops, about $20 Cdn so probably less for you.
If you're open to a sweet white once in a while, check out a Moscato d'Asti. Had one from Cristina Ascheri (2005) and was impressed with the balance, though some will definitely find it too sweet. With a light fizz (here in Quebec it's sold with the sparklers, but it isn't in a champagne-type bottle) and beer-like alcohol (5.5% abv), it made a fine, refreshing first bottle after a long, hot day. $19 Cdn in my location, no idea how much it will cost where you are. :)
I should add that a dry Torrontes would be a good gauge of whether you might like a Moscato, as they share similar floral qualities (though I haven't had the specific torrontes mentioned by GG Mora).
I am with rmonty on roses. The Sinsky is nice. There is also a widely available Mas de Gourgonnier right now that is generally about half the price and also has a bit of body without a big dose of strawberry. I love Bandols but they are pricier and I am not seeing many this year anyway. Garretson makes a red rose you might find fun. I have dropped the wine club as I can no longer drink that style but I liked it once upon a time. For reds (as you requested): you might try a nebbiolo (I like the Langhe) or a US pinot noir (Babcock is a good bet) or Domaine Alfred's DA Red. Actually I haven't had it this year nor have I seen it on the east coast but used to love it. Other blends like that are good for summer too. Personally I like sparkling for summer!