Maybe it's the monsoon storms and the cooler nights, or maybe it's the wide variety of wines out there—but these warm-weather months, I'm craving more than ice-cold whites designed to beat the heat. From bone-dry rosé to nervy, edgy reds, here are a few New Mexican wines that demonstrate considerable appeal on heated days.
Gruet Rosé Sauvage NV
Since 1984, Gruet has been specializing in sparkling wines made according to the méthode champenoise—which is the artisanal style of Champagne that allows for many different styles and dryness levels. Its Rosé Sauvage is part of a bone-dry series, made entirely from pinot noir grapes with no added sugars. It is razor-sharp, crisp and focused, the apotheosis of the "I want a dry rosé" mentality. It isn't as widely distributed as the maker's Brut Rosé, but you can find a bottle at Gruet Winery's Santa Fe Tasting Room (Hotel St. Francis, 210 Don Gaspar Ave., 989-9463) for $20.
Milagro Vineyards Sémillon 2016
The Sémillon grape isn't found many places outside its native home in Bordeaux, where it is used to make a variety of wines ranging from dry to sweet. This particular iteration is from a single parcel called the Franklin Vineyard in Milagro's lands in Corrales—hence the "New Mexico True" seal of approval gracing the wine's label. It's barrel-fermented in neutral French oak and experiences a little less aging, which lends the final product texture and body. It's a fascinating tribute to the dry white wines of the Bordeaux region, and the wine itself has a saline mineral element combined with broad flavors of apple and pear. Pick up a bottle at Whole Foods Market (753 Cerrillos Road, 992-1700) for $26.
Vivác Winery Carignan 2015
The best wines coming out of Vivác are their medium-bodied reds, usually made from native French or Spanish varieties that provide a touch of nuance and old-world earthiness in wines designed to appear soft and fruity. Their 2015 Carignan ($30) is a prime example of a crisp red replete with charm and grace. It tastes like sappy black cherry and blackberry intermingling with spicy notes of clove and cardamom and rustic herbal undertones. It's a great showing from this small, stylish winery, located in Dixon, although the Railyard tasting room at the Santa Fe Farmers Market Pavilion (1607 Paseo de Peralta, 983-4098) also carries the winery's entire range.
Jaramillo Vineyards Chambourcin 2013
The passion project of Robert Jaramillo, an ex-pilot turned farmer who decided grapes were a better fit for New Mexico's water-starved climate than alfalfa, Jaramillo Vineyards operates 10 acres of vines in the Middle Rio Grande Valley just north of Belen, growing many different varieties and constantly experimenting with what kind of plant matter succeeds in the field regardless of how weird or outlier the grapes may be. His Chambourcin is a prime example of the winery's quirky style: a French-American hybrid that demonstrates considerable vigor and disease resistance, here made into a charming dry, medium-bodied red wine. With a little chill on it, it's a disarmingly refreshing treat on a hot afternoon. Find it at Kokoman Fine Wines & Liquor (34 Cities of Gold Road, 455-2219) for $17.49.