It's Memorial Day weekend and if you're drinking wine I'll bet you're keeping it casual. You're either taking a road trip up north or you're kicking it around the house for a stay-cation. Let's keep it simple and keep the wine casual as well. Each of these wines are $15 and under!

I can't imagine cooking outdoors without copious amounts of rose to keep one hydrated over the flames. This Savoie from Carrel made me do a double-take when I first tasted it. It's so refreshing with juicy melon tones it cannot possibly be from the Alps! They must crave the same wine as me under clear blue summer skies.

Croze-Hermitage Blanc...hmm...Let's simply say I've had more bad ones than good ones (mostly the Croze's fault, not the Hermitage). Most folks I know are completely unfamiliar with the whites of the Northern Rhone, so Chapoutier "Petite Ruche" is my best recommendation if you're looking for a new experience. The price cannot be beat for the pedigree, and it's nothing short of satisfying. Bee's wax, jasmine, and often a dozen other potent fragrances on the nose, they can often feel flabby and oily on the palette. This, however, is opulent and racy, spicy and floral with a zip. I can imagine several things I would eat with this: flounder and halibut, grilled chicken, cochon du lait, (ooohhhhh I just thought of a hot dog smothered in sour kraut!), and I recently recommended it to a guy who was about to grill octopus. I have no idea how that turned out, but he seems like a pretty cool guy. I want a friend who grills octopus.

Last but not least, our good buddy Kermit Lynch brings us his "Cypress Cuvee" Cotes du Rhone. Mostly grenache, old vines, minimally filtered, expert vigneron, blended by Mr. Kermit himself, and only $12. Need I say more? Ok I will. It's truly a crowd-pleaser. You'll probably be around people who drink California Cab when it's 110 degrees outside anyway, so throw them a bone and a have a red around, only this one you'll be very pleased with. Juicy, meaty, and even thirst-quenching with a slight chill.



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