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It’s 4 o’clock on a Saturday evening and it’s over 100º. By six, I will be on my forth 24 ounce bottle of water of the day and will drastically be needing a change in libation. Lemonade and iced tea are both quality options, but sometimes the occasion calls for a little vino. Obviously not today since the Coleman Fire is burning nearby and we may have to evacuate. Now I'm worried about my wine; do I leave it behind or pack it into the trunk of my car?
Throughout the year, different wines are better suited for the outside temperatures. While I’m a lover of a good Cabernet Sauvignon, it’s not as thirst quenching in the middle of summer as a nice crisp glass of something light-bodied and crisp in flavor. While rosé is an obvious choice, there are other alternatives that are just as delicious and seasonally appropriate. It’s no secret that I can drink Viognier and Viognier blends year round and find a Sauvignon Blanc absolutely ridiculous in January, however last year on the 4th of July, a hefty Malbec was my drink of choice.
For summertime, I like wines that don’t require any added aging or decanting. Wines that can be serve cold or slightly chilled from the fridge or a bucket of ice are best for last minute guests or emergency drinking situations, like a Monday night. Sweeter, lighter-bodied wines tend to be received far better than their dry, heavy-bodied alternatives. For $30 plus shipping, this trio of Riesling, Pink Moscato and Sweet White Wine will probably satisfy most. So, lets all get our wine glasses ready for a summer filled with laughter, good wine and even better company.
We all have our first love when it comes to our venture into wine. For many people, myself included, riesling was the first wine that I fell in love with. Riesling doesn’t have to be mouth puckering sweet and it in fact some wineries produce mouth-watering bone dry styles that can make you weak in the knees. In college, my friends and I were all about Chateau St. Michelle and Polka Dot, but now we know better and know to reach for wines produced in Alsace, France or throughout Germany. That’s not to say that there’s anything wrong with either Chateau St. Michelle or Polka Dot, I’ve just come a long way since those days and understand more about the complexity of really amazing Riesling wines.
Another white wine that is sold in styles ranging from dry, semi-sweet and sweet, Verdelho is a varietal you’ve probably never heard of. If you’re the type of person to loves to be the first in your social circle to have something new, this wine is it. No doubt about it, this is a sweeter wine but it’s an outstanding summer wine because when made well, it’s incredibly easy drinking. California wineries are producing some great Verdelho wines, particularly this one from Forlorn.
While it’s not on the top of my wine drinking list unless it’s big and bold and punches you in the face, Pinot Noir is a palate pleasing wine for many people. Characteristically, it’s light-bodied, fruit forward and vanishes quickly when you’re gossiping with girlfriends eating strawberries while you’re waiting for the men to finish up the bbq. If you’re all about cult wines, Senses has been producing some great fruit-forward Pinot Noir’s and even though it’s made by a “celebrity,” I’ve been told it’s pretty damn delicious.
A summer wine list wouldn’t be complete without the cliché rosé somewhere on the list. I’m surprised by how many rosé lovers don’t understand that rosé is not a grape varietal; rosé can (and is) made from everything from Pinot Noir grapes to full-bodied Tempranillo. Unless you know what you like, start from the top and select a couple of bottles of rosé from France and figure out which best suites your taste and needs. When I’m responsible for buying rosé, I go straight for this.