Thoughts on Summer wines

A co-worker came up to me yesterday to say, “Boy it’s a hot one!  I think this is going to be a real hot summer”.

Yes, summer is just around the corner!  The sun will be more glaring and the days are getting longer. It is a time to change–lighter clothing, lighter & fresher foods & also the kind of wines we drink.

The profile of wine conducive to hot weather sipping is also lighter in body, fresher, crisper, lower in alcohol content and usually less oaky.

So here are some recommendations on how to find such wines, especially those offering great value for the dollar.

The first place to look would be in the sparkling wine category.   French Champagne is always a treat, no matter what time of the year and there are also many apropos bubbly selections from California.  For real value, however, consider Italian Prosecco or Spanish Cava.  The finest are often medium dry to dry, have remarkable lightness on the palate and are absolutely delicious at half the price!

Another reliable source for summer thirst-quenchers is German Riesling.  The ideal style for me at least would be a medium-dry version, which has just a hint of sweetness to round out hard edges and should translate into more moderate alcohol levels.  Plus, you will be amazed ate how versatile this style of Riesling really is, from the picnic table to the barbecue setting to a home cooked Asian stir fry.

White wine lovers should also consider lighter, crisper styles of sauvignon blancs from California and France’s LoireValley..  For value seekers Chile can be quite a treasure chest for bright, clean, completely refreshing Sauvignon Blancs and similarly styled Chardonnays as well.

For the Chardonnay lover, Summer is really the opportune time to sip well chilled ,UN-oaked versions of this grape, which thankfully there are a quickly growing number of delicious renditions more readily available.

For the real foodie, you have probably already read in some magazine, Summer is the time for dry, exuberant, deliciously fruit driven pink wines.  As the traveling gourmet well knows, this is THE wine style most commonly served this time of the year at cafes and bistros along the Mediterranean basin.  WHY?  Because the best ones are thirst-quenching, incredibly food friendly and gulp-able.

The best advice from there is to serve the wines well chilled and have some fun this summer.

Lastly, for the red wine drinker, ‘tis the time for Beaujolais (hopefully true artisan, “boutique” versions) and more elegant, prettier styles of Pinot Noirs.   Choose one, where delicious-ness is the priority.

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