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Macari's Early Wine makes a great beach beverage. (Credit: Vera Chinese)
Macari’s Early Wine makes a great beach beverage. (Credit: Vera Chinese)

It’s been hot out there this week. Oppressively, meltingly hot. Even if the opening of training camp means that football season is just around the corner — these are the dog days of summer. Here on Long Island, that means time on the beach for most of us, at least on weekends.

Whether you head to the Sound or bay for a picnic dinner with your family or spend the entire day at an ocean beach with friends like we do, a little wine most certainly can make it better.

I said a little. And make sure you have a designated driver.

I have only a few rules when it comes to beach wines — they need to be refreshing (fresh acid, please!), straightforward (complexity is wasted in the sand with less-than-fancy stemware) and affordable (under $20).

There are myriad local options that fit the bill quite well (though the price point is the most challenging of the lot), but here are five that quickly come to mind:

Macari Vineyards 2014 Early Wine Chardonnay ($18)

My wife and I — with the help of our friends — have gone through at least a couple cases of this fruity, friendly white that bursts with green apple, lime and grapefruit flavors with subtle sweetness, but also plenty of crisp, juicy acidity. Plus, it’s under 12% abc, which is always a good thing when you’re spending the day in the sun.

Paumanok Vineyards 2014 Festival Chardonnay ($19)

If you prefer slightly drier wines, this similarly bright, crunchy white delivers that along with notes of pineapple and steely minerality to go with plenty of citrus and apple flavor. The acidity is perhaps even more apparent here, making it a real thirst-quencher. Bonus points for being closed with a screwcap, which means you don’t need to bring a corkscrew with you.

Bouquet Wines 2014 Sauvignon Blanc ($18)

Also closed with a screwcap, this well-priced sauvignon blanc features a lightly saline nose that is dominated by lemon and grapefruit aromas and a subtle green melon note. Light-bodied and crisp, the palate delivers a beam of citrus fruit flavors, a subtle floral quality and a grass-meet-citrus-pith finish.

Anthony Nappa Wines 2014 Luminous Riesling ($18)

Made with riesling grapes grown in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York — a region where truly special riesling is grown and made — this is a crowd-pleaser. Fruit-forward notes of white peach, lime and citrus blossom are all wrapped up in an off-dry style that will appeal to a wide range of palates.

Roanoke Vineyards 2014 Rosé ($19)

If you’re looking for just a bit more heft — maybe you’re having grilled chicken or even a burger — this blend of chardonnay and merlot is a great choice. It is both mouth-filling and refreshing at the same time, with just-picked red berry flavors and notes of pear and citrus. This isn’t the only local rosé that would be a great beach-ready option, but it’s one that I’m loving right now.

By the way, swap out “beach” for “pool” or “day on the boat” if you want, these wines will still work just fine. Enjoy and stay cool.

Lenn Thompson

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