Warmer weather is finally upon us. Well, depending on where you live, it may be a little slow coming (ahem, Chicago!) or have already smacked you with 100+ degree temps. But the calendar says summer is just around the corner, and it has me leaving my red wines on the shelf in favor of some more summery sippers.
I've recently come across some nice ones I thought I'd share and recommend!
1. Vinho Verde- This little Portuguese number is a perfect (inexpensive) wine for summer. It tends to be relatively low in alcohol (especially the white versions,) has really nice acidity, light fruity flavors (think lemon, lime, green apple,) and a teeny bit of effervescence from a secondary fermentation that takes place in the bottle. There are tasty rosé versions as well. I took one to Thai food a few months ago and it really hit the spot. I haven't yet been able to find it, but the Vera Vinho Verde Rosé is very highly rated and I'm searching high and low for it. Chicagoans, if you find it, let me know!
The white versions are AMAZING with seafood. They're so thirst-quenching and tasty! The teensy sparkle just gives them something different too. Love them. Mmmm.
2. Gruner Veltliner - I admit, I often shy away from the German and Austrian whites. They're usually either too sour for my taste or too sweet! I'm not a German Riesling or Gewurztraminer fan because they're too sugary. So it took me a while to branch out and try the Gruners. They tend to be nice and acidic (but not too sour,) kind of minerally, and really fresh. Nice for a hot day! Also, very food friendly.
3. Sparkling wines! OK, so I know a lot of people keep their sparkling wines for special occasions and I think this needs to stop! Yes, they can be fun and celebratory, but many of them are totally affordable, clean, light, and perfect for summer. I think you can generally find some nice quality French ones if you look for a Blanc de Blancs, which are usually 100% Chardonnay ($10-$15 will get you some good tasting stuff- no need to break the bank.) I also have recently really enjoyed some good Blanc de Noirs (especially those made from Pinot Noir- even though I’m not a huge PN fan normally.) When my Wines of the World Group did our Australia night, we had a $20 bottle of sparkling made from Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier. It was memorably tasty. All of those I recommended are very dry. Especially in the summer heat, I prefer to eschew too much sugar.
4. Rosé. I could dedicate a whole post to rosé- heck, I probably will. I think it is delish. Rosé often gets a bad rap because things like White Zinfandel (ever so popular in the 80s) led people to assume all pink wine tasted like melted candy. WRONG! I love a dry, balanced rosé They can have the acidity, freshness, and levity of a white wine, but are often more interesting in terms of their berry fruit notes, and are terrific alone or with food. I think everyone should embrace them this summer! Do it! You can find dry rosé versions of many of your favorite grapes- Grenache, Syrah, Pinot Noir, Gamay (more unusual, but tasty!) and more- as well as lots of blends. They’re so versatile. Give them a shot!
That's it! Those are my recommendations. Go forth, beat the heat, and sip away-but remember to hydrate with water too!
Slurp… ahhhhhh… (don’t mind me!)
Did you know?
Rosé wines are made from red grapes, but rather than let the wine ferment with contact with the skins and seeds, the juice spends very little time with the skins- just enough to absorb a little pink color and a little flavor (sometimes this is only a few hours!) That’s a very basic breakdown, but I’ll save the details for another post.