Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Wines for Summer

With the arrival of Memorial Day comes our readiness to plunge into summer!  For the next three months, we’ll search for all things cool and comfortable – including our wines.  Now’s the time to relax, kickback, and enjoy a fresh, crisp wine - and there are several types to consider.

White wines are judged to be the mainstays for summer.  Their crisp, acidic flavors go well with white meats and those summer specialties, potato salad, veggies, even Gazpacho! 

We usually expect summer whites to be chilled and cool, but go don’t go overboard and freeze them.  Lightly chilled will keep the wines fresh, crisp, aromatic, and cool – perfect for hot weather drinking.

Summer time is salad time and, yes; there are wines that pair well with a salad.  The first thing to consider is the dressing you’ll be using.  One with a lot of acid and vinegar will compete with a wine.  Look for a more mellow dressing and pair the wine according to what’s in your salad.  Topping that salad with fruit?  Check out a Riesling or Traminette.  Fresh berries?  Head for a Pinot Noir or Beaujolais.  Is your salad heavy on the herbs?  Select a wine with herbal-notes like non-oaked Merlot or Sauvignon Blanc.

If you’re grilling white meat, chicken, pork or fish, and want a white wine, consider a lightly chilled bottle of Chenin Blanc or Sauvignon Blanc, both go well with white meats and veggies. 

If you’re grilling bold flavors, be sure to match your wine to the main flavor profile.  This could be the meat itself or the sauce or marinade you’ll be using on it.  If it’s a BBQ burger or a steak, go for a robust red, a non-oaked Shiraz or Malbec can handle this.  If you’re grilling chicken or chops but want a red wine, check out a Merlot or Pinot Noir.  Both offer a softer red flavor without overwhelming the white meat.

If you want to pair a wine with chips and dips, try a young sparkling wine.  Those fresh, crisp bubbles help cut the greasy chip taste away.

If you’re looking for a ‘one size fits all’ wine for summer – consider a Rosé.  It’s a food-friendly wine and can be served room temperature or chilled.

Or make your own Sangria!  Cool, refreshing and another great summer wine option.  Light, fruity flavors beg to be enjoyed during the summer.

And don’t forget, a light, sparkling wine can make a summer afternoon more bearable. Have it with cold food, hot food, or just because you've finished cutting the grass!

Here are ten great summertime wines, perfect for steamy days and sultry nights:
1) Sauvignon Blanc, 
2) Chenin Blanc 
3) Traminette
4) Merlot
5) Pinot Noir
6) Rosé 
7) Sangria 
8) Muscato 
9) Vidal Blanc
10) Sparkling wines   

Use these to experiment with, then dive in and discover what you like.  Find a great pairing?  Let us know! Just remember to keep it fun and light - After all, it’s summer – Enjoy!

~ Joy