May 11 , 2022
Well, I think we have officially transitioned into Summer in Florida. I am looking at the 10-day forecast, and I see a lot of 90-degree temperatures in my future. My friends back up north said they think they have seen the last of snow for a few months as well. As a born and raised northerner, I know that means summer must be on its way up there as well.
With the coming of Summer, my wine drink of choice begins to shift. Although I do love my big Cabs and Reds, something about a 15% alcohol wine that weights down my palate like a cinderblock doesn't scream refreshing to me. Even those big buttery oaky Chardonnays may need to take a back seat for a few months for some light and elegant whites, crisp and refreshing roses and even a refreshing red. Here are a few options along with some nice lighter summer foods to go along with them!
Everyone knows the big whites, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Pinot Grigio, but there are so many other wonderful white wines out there to try! Italy makes so many wonderful alternatives to Pinot Grigio like Trebbiano, Cortese, and Pecorino. But the white wine that I think is one of the most overlooked whites that is perfect for summer is Albarino. It is a fruity and refreshing very dry white wine that is perfect for summer. Most of your Albarino's are also great values with most around $20 or less. Here is a link to one of my favorite producers of Albarino. Not only is it inexpensive, but it is highly rated as well! Try this with those lighter fish dishes or with some nice raw oysters or even some tasty sushi!
Rose is another perfect option for those hot summer days! Up north, you can usually determine the time of year and temperature outside by when you see the explosion of Roses that a store carries. It's like a department store the day after Halloween, bam! Christmas! Once those temps go up and the end of school is near, bam! pink everywhere! I really appreciate that rose has come back into style. People are starting to learn that pink wine does not mean white zinfandel, or even that it is going to be sweet at all. Most of the Roses that hit the market are actually pretty dry wines. Almost every winemaker and every wine region release a Rose and they can all be very unique and different, and you can make a Rose with almost any red grape. Some are dark pink in color, almost red, while some look as if they are nearly the color of water. One of my personal favorite regions for Rose is Provence in France. They produce very elegant lighter style Roses. Here is a link to one that is great to try! Summer calls for lots of fresh cut fruit and Rose calls for a big bowl of fresh fruit or a nice salad with grilled chicken.
Finally, I know there are many people out there who will just not drink anything other than red wine. I don't really understand it, but I know they are out there (I have some in my family). One option for a lighter red wine for the summer you can look into is Gamay, a grape made in the region of Beaujolais of France. These are very light, and fruit driven and even drink better with a slight chill on them! My personal choice would just to keep it simple and go with a nice California Point Noir. These will be lighter in body, but still have the complexity most red drinkers are looking for. This link will take you to one of my favorites. It has bright red fruits and a nice medium body. Up north we grill a lot during the summer and this wine would be perfect with hot dogs or hamburgers on the grill. Keep it simple and easy with a side of coleslaw or potato salad.
We use the changes of season to change our wardrobe, so why not our drinking and eating habits as well? There are so many great wines (and food) that we never seem to try, and this summer might be a good time to step out of our comfort zone to try something new!