Here’s to a wonderful, carefree summer, filled with hot days and sultry nights. There’s nothing like the warmth of the sun on your skin, the feel of a soft ocean breeze, and the smell of steaks sizzling on the grill. Whether you are laughing with friends at a backyard cookout, relaxing on a quiet beach, or enjoying that long-awaited vacation, a great bottle of wine can add cheer to any occasion.
Here are our recommendations for some great wines to complement any warm-weather occasion.
ROSÉ: COOL AND CRISP
Nothing says summer like a soft, cool, crisp bottle of rosé! The perfect choice for beach parties or a summer garden brunch, rosé can be both casual and classy. True rosés are not all sweet like white zinfandel but can run the range from dry to sweet. With the huge variety of rosés available, there is a rosé out there for every white or red wine lover, as well as for regular beer and whiskey drinkers. The dry Rosé varieties also pair extremely well with most summer fare which makes it an easy choice for summer entertaining. Just chill and serve when your guests arrive!
Our pick: Winter’s Hill Rosé of Pinot Noir 2018, Winter’s Hill Estate, Dayton, Oregon
Winter’s Hill 2018 Rosé fills your nose with bright smells of tangerine, grapefruit, citrus, and fresh rain. The taste highlights orange peel, citrus, and minerals with a long mouthwatering finish. It’s perfect for taking the edge off a hot day!
Pair with: Summer salads, light pasta, and fish.
Winter’s Hill Estate
6451 Hilltop Lane
Dayton, OR 97114
PINO GRIGIO: FLORAL AND EARTHY
Pinot Grigio is a very popular white wine grape and, while it’s deserving of a place at the table year-round, it is extremely well-suited for drinking during the dog days of summer.
When served chilled, this zesty wine is as refreshing as an ice-filled glass of lemonade on a hot summer’s day. Pinot Grigio has a delicate mouthfeel and bright acidity with flavors of lemons, limes, green apples, and honeysuckle. It’s a great way to cool down!
Our pick: 2017 Pinot Grigio, Chateau Grand Traverse, Traverse City, MI
Its floral and citrus flavors and herbaceous style make this a very food-friendly wine, perfect for summertime.
Pair with: Fish, seared scallops, pesto chicken.
Chateau Grand Traverse
12239 Center Road
Traverse City, MI 49686 USA
ORANGE WINE: THE NEW ROSÉ
Ready to try an interesting alternative to your usual summer rosé? Orange wine is quickly joining rank with the classic wine trio of red, white and rosé. And no, orange wine is not made from oranges. This wine’s coppery orange color comes from a centuries-old style of fermenting white grapes on their skins. These richer-tasting cousins of rosé have been described as having a nuttiness and toastiness to them.
Our pick: 2016 RAMATO — LONG ISLAND AVA, Channing Daughters Winery, Bridgehampton, New York
Produced from hand-picked Pinot Grigio fruit, the 2016 Ramato is not only alluring and delicious to smell and taste, it has an absolutely gorgeous color to admire. You will enjoy the aromas and flavors of honey, brown spices, pear skin, citrus, coriander and peaches.
Pair with: Fish, chicken, pork, hard cheeses.
Channing Daughters Winery
1927 Scuttlehole Road
P.O. Box 2202
Bridgehampton, NY 11932
PINOT NOIR: TIME TO BARBECUE
Red wine lovers, enjoy! The summer season does not have to be a time to give up delicious reds. Luckily there are plenty of choices that are wonderful in the summer and it is perfectly acceptable to slightly chill some of them. The trick is to choose reds that are described as “fruity” and “light-bodied” and to steer clear of anything with “dry” on the label. If you’re looking for a red that won’t put you to sleep under the heat of the summer sun, Pinot Noir is the grape for you. Bursting with fruit flavors, Pinot Noirs pair perfectly with a day at the beach, an evening around a bonfire, or a backyard barbecue.
Our pick: La Crema Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2016, La Crema Winery, Windsor, California
Winemaker Craig McAllister describes this as “On the nose RED CHERRY, plum, pomegranate, and sweet tobacco. On the palate, multi-layered red, blue and blackberry fruit, PLUMS and cherries, and a hint of BLOOD ORANGE underpin subtle layers of EXOTIC spice and toast. Fine tannins and BALANCED acidity drive a long finish”.
Pair with: Salmon, bacon-wrapped stuffed dates, light, and airy chocolate mousse.
La Crema Winery
Estate at Saralee’s Vineyard
3575 Slusser Road
Windsor, CA 95492
CHARDONNAY: ALWAYS VERSATILE
Chardonnay is the most widely planted grape variety across the world and the wide variety of Chardonnays allows wine drinkers to have a Chardonnay for every season and occasion. Bright, vibrant Chardonnays are the choices that pair best with the foods of the patio season. Just imagine the feel of a warm summer breeze while you savor each sip of a lovely glass of buttery Chardonnay!
Our pick: Thelema Mountain Vineyards, Sutherland Chardonnay, 2017, Stellenbosch, South Africa
This is a delicious white made with grapes from South Africa’s coolest wine region and is expressive and full of character. It is complex and creamy but also fresh and zesty with citrus fruit flavors combined with slightly sweet vanilla notes alongside a core of minerality. It’s both delicious and versatile!
Pair with: Seafood dishes, chicken salad.
Thelema Mountain Vineyards
Helshoogte Pass, Stellenbosch, South Africa
SAUVIGNON BLANC: BUILT FOR SUMMER
Crisp, dry and extremely refreshing, Sauvignon Blanc is one of our summertime favorites! Ranging from light to medium-bodied with grassy to tropical fruit flavors, it makes a wonderful back porch wine after a long afternoon working in the yard. Sauvignon Blanc is also extremely food friendly, particularly with fresh and light summertime fare.
Our Pick: Honig Winery’s Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc, Napa, California with its medium body, full acidity, and straightforward fruit flavors, this mildly oaked Sauvignon Blanc is sure to please. You will notice herbs and citrus on the palate, nice aromas, and a balanced succulent mouthfeel, making this a great wine for a family gathering. Honig focuses solely on Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon. They made their first vintage of Sauvignon Blanc in 1980, and that wine won a gold medal at the Orange County Fair.
Pair with: Fish or chicken seasoned with fresh herbs, lobster, crab cakes, grilled asparagus, and zucchini.
Honig Vineyard & Winery
850 Rutherford Road
Rutherford, CA 94573
The perfect summer is filled with blue skies, beach breezes, backyard barbecues, picnics, bonfires, fantastic get-aways, and, of course, delicious wines. We hope you enjoy all the fun sultry summertime has to offer. And we’re certain you’ll enjoy a glass or two of wine along the way! We sure will!
Whatever this summer brings, be sure to have your VinGardeValise® wine suitcase packed and ready with some of the best wines to sip and savor this summer!