Cheap and cheerful

It’s hot and the economy sucks. What to drink? I asked local wine writer Michele Hebert (check out her blog at

1. “Fino sherry—fino being the light and dry style versus the dessert style—is one of the world’s most undervalued wines. A tremendous amount of work goes into making these refreshing, saline wines, which usually sell for only $10 or $15 a bottle. Southern Spain, where sherry is made, is one of the few climates that’s actually hotter than Sacramento, so you have to trust the wines will bring relief from the heat.”

2. “Simple Grüner Veltliner, occasionally available in liter-size bottles, is one of the most refreshing and versatile wines around—and a great value. It has sufficiently high acidity that you can pair with high-acid summer foods like tomatoes. Or just drink it on the porch, aperitif style, in the middle of the day.”

3. “Grenache—either as rosé or a lighter red—dominates the south of France, which has a climate very similar to ours. Even as a relatively full-bodied red wine, it can be refreshing; well-matched to grilled sausages!”