Refreshing Wine Styles That Help Beat the Summer Heat
When it comes to beating the heat of the summer we can rely on some tried, tested and trusted wine styles to keep our palates refreshed, renew our sense of adventure in wine exploration and revitalize our food and wine savoir faire.
So get out of your winter rut of big reds and unctuous wine styles and explore some dynamic wines that are suited to the sunny season, the outdoors and an accepting palate.
Summer Sparkling Wine
Whether white, rosé or red… sparkling wines often are lighter in alcohol, high in acid, and exceptionally versatile when pairing with foods. It is a common mistake to think of sparkling wine as only for special occasions. Sparkling wines can be found at value prices, and should always be served chilled. They always seem to make occasions more festive: regardless of how small or large the event may be.
Light & Crisp Wines Quench Thirst
Like well-made lemonade, these types of white wine should refresh and brighten your mood and awaken your senses. This category is usually loaded with citrus, mineral, and briny flavours: perfect as a match for any food that would normally benefit from a squeeze of lemon or lime. Generally it is most common to find these wines from cooler wine regions that do not struggle to maintain acidity within their grapes.
Look for these white grape varieties: Albariño, Chenin Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Verdejo or Vermentino.
#RoséAllDay in the Summer
This style of wine is a great option for summer sipping or for carnivores looking for more refreshment than their typical Cabernet Sauvignon or Shiraz might provide. Rosé tends to be dry – White Zinfandel being one of the few sweeter options available. Rosé is notable for zippy fruit flavours, including cranberry, cherry and blood orange, among others. These wines are typically best enjoyed young, within a year or two of their vintage. They are often inexpensive. Rosé is perfect patio and snacking wine. It goes great with pork, chicken and even grilled pizza. Look for wines with an alcohol content no lower than 12% (for the driest style the best range is 12-13%). Rosés with higher alcohol volumes will not technically be sweet but will maintain very obvious tropical fruit flavours and viscosity.
Look for dry rosé from either Provence, France or from Spain for tasty summer sipping.
Summer is for Light & Fruity Red Wines
Massive, burly red wines are great, but sometimes those hazy summer days demand something a little more revitalizing. Lighter reds are lower in alcohol, higher in acidity, and unlike their heavy red counterparts, can be served slightly chilled. They should not be cold – just cool. If you have an ice bucket, or cooler, you can keep a bottle of light red on top of the ice, but not “in” the ice. These reds will not overwhelm food, and will be lower in bitter tannin
Grape varieties that produce lighter red wines perfect for summer include Gamay Noir, and Pinot Noir.
Salty Snacks & Fino Sherry for Summer
Fino Sherry is not just a style of wine, but a very specific type of fortified wine. Most fortified wines are exceptionally rich, and meant for the heaviest of main courses, cheeses, or desserts. But, Fino Sherry is unique and unusual in character. Briny and bracingly acidic, Fino Sherry is distinctly refreshing and pairs really well with salty snacks and seafood. It is intensely nutty in flavour and is best friends with olives, almonds, cured meats and manchego cheese. A staple of the patio table in the sunny streets of Jerez, Spain.