Random thoughts on the world of wine, presented in no particular order.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Wines for summer.

I spent the weekend out and about doing touristy stuff in the Florida heat, and it got me to thinking, "what wines would I like for this?"  

First thing I'd look for in such a wine would be chillability -- I don't want wine that has to be served at room temperature, not if it's hot out.  Much better is something I can throw into (or onto) a cooler of ice to keep cold and chill me down.

Next thing I'd want would be low alcohol levels; when it's hot out, I don't want my wine to be heavy, and the lower the alcohol level is, the lighter feeling the wine is.

Finally, a bit of fizz might go well; there's nothing quite as refreshing as some bubbles!

So, here's a dozen wines to get you through the summer:
  1. A good sweeter Riesling; anything from a QbA, like Dr. L (Dr. Loosen's QbA), to a good Einzellagen (again, I'm a fan of Loosen's Erdener Treppchen Auslese), it's all good.  Riesling like this is incredibly great just for sipping while watching a sunset, or with light food, especially seafood and fresh vegetables.
  2. Chilean Sauvignon Blanc; not quite as juicy as the New Zealand version, but quite excellent in general.  Also about half as expensive (Chilean runs between $7 and $11 in my local wine store, while NZ costs between $9 and $27 or so), so it's perfect quaffing wine.
  3. Cava.  Nothing like light, fizzy, and cold to take the edge off of the summer -- not to mention how well Cava goes with light foods!
  4. Pinot Noir.  I'm a fan of Monterrey as a region, especially for value.  Just a hair lighter than Russian River or Willamette in style, but with great flavor intensity.  Serve them slightly chilled.  I find half an hour in the fridge does them wonders, and I often leave them on top of -- that's "on top of", not "buried in" -- ice in a bucket.
  5. A rosé.  Pink  ≠ sweet -- the sooner we, as drinkers, get that through our heads, the better (not that sweet = bad, but too many people dismiss all rosé as the same as White Zin.  Not so!).  Dry rosé is perfect picnic wine; it goes with almost anything, from ham sandwiches through a plate of shrimp and scallops!  The ideal, for me, would be a Rosé de Provence, but there are great New World rosés as well -- a personal favorite is Elizabeth Rose Rosé, a great Syrah-based wine.
  6. Vihno Verde.  Slightly sweet, slightly effervescent, low-alcohol, high acidity, and best of all inexpensive ($5 to $9 in my local store)... what more could you ask for in a wine for relaxing by the pool!  Serve it ice cold.
  7. Tempranillo.  Personally, I like this one from Toro, but this grape in general is great with grilled meats and barbecue.  Slightly higher-alcohol than the former six suggestions, and not as much for being chilled (although, a couple of minutes in the fridge does wonders for this, too!).
  8. Unoaked Chardonnay.  The best in the world, in my opinion, come from Burgundy (inexpensive Burgundies are almost all either unoaked or use neutral barrels -- ask at the store if you can't find one), but there are great examples from Argentina, Australia, and even some from the US (although we do still have a bit of an oak fetish in our Chardonnay).
  9. Gamay.  This generally means Beaujolais -- and if all you have experienced from Beaujolais is Beaujolais Neuveau... give it a shot.  Cru Beaujolais is a wonderful wine (and generally under $20), so try a Moulin a Vent, or a Fleuire!  Dryer, much more complex than you wold think, enjoyable food wine.
  10. White Bordeaux.  This is wine made from Sauvignon Blanc, Muscadelle, and Semillon; much more mineral in style than New World Sauvignon Blancs, and a much more elegant food wine -- a good white Bordeaux with fresh bass fillets is heaven.
  11. Torrontes.  I posted about this grape a while ago, but it deserves some more attention; it's perfect for summer cocktails!
  12. Rhone wines.  Both whites and reds; the reds go perfectly with grilled steaks, while the whites would be beautiful with pork chops.
So, there's a mixed case of great wines for summer -- mostly white, with a rose, and two or three reds.  What will you drink for summer?

Image from Wine-Community.It.

No comments:

Post a Comment