Have you ever heard the expression “the dog days of summer”. It refers to “the sultry part of summer, when Sirius, the Dog Star, rises at the same time as the sun.” The days are longer, the temperatures warmer. A time for relaxation.
Imagine, there you are, sitting outside, basking in the sun and sipping on a nice cool and refreshing glass of wine. What kind of wines pair the best with warm summer weather? White, rosé, sparkling, and red are all suitable, each in it’s own way.
Champagne, Prosecco, and Cava as well as many other sparkling wines are sensational selections. They range from dry to very sweet so it is best to let your personal preferences and food selections be your guide. Sparkling wines must be served between the temperatures of 6 – 8 degrees C. to fully appreciate their vibrant acidity and lively mousse. One of the sparkling wines I enjoy is Sileni Cellar Selection Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc ($17.06). This vivacious sparkling white wine is extradry and features gooseberry, grass, herbs and tropical fruit. The mouth-watering and citrus-laden acidity is refreshing and palate cleansing.
Rosé is delicious, a versatile food pairing wine, and beautiful. Like sparkling wines, rosé is available in many different sweetness levels. Blush Zinfandel from California is, by far, the sweetest rosé whereas those from the Rhone Valley, Bordeaux and Provence, France, and many other European wine-making areas are dry. Dry rosé pairs exceptionally well with Mediterranean foods while offdry rosé compliments fresh red berries and fruit-based desserts. Try Chateau Mas Neuf Paradox Rosé ($15.99) from the Rhone Valley, a dry wine blended from four different grape varieties. This light-medium- bodied rosé has delicate aromas of white flower blossoms, raspberry, watermelon and peaches.
White wines are considered the quintessential wines of summer. Riesling, Muscat, Torrontes, Sauvignon Blanc, and Pinot Grigio are some of the most-loved grape varieties. They are light-bodied and easy-drinking. The best over-all food pairing wines are white, high-acid and off-dry. One such wine is Jackson-Triggs Reserve Riesling ($14.99) from Canada, like summer in a glass this white wine is a crowd-pleaser. Serve light-bodied white wines between 8-10 degrees C..
Optimal red wine selections are light-bodied with moderately high to high acidity. Wines made from the Barbera, Gamay or Pinot Noir grape varieties are excellent choices. Although they differ in some ways they do have some similairities and it is these qualities that make them suitable summer wines. These reds are both fresh and fruity with up front aromas and flavours of strawberries, raspberries and red currant. Light and medium-bodied red wines reveal their best when served between the temperatures of 14-16 degrees C. These wines are enjoyable on their own yet they also make great picnic and bistro wines, pairing well with charcuterie, brie cheese and salads with strawberries, cranberries or pomegranite. Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais-Villages ($14.49) is ripe and fresh with good acidity and charming red cherry, strawberry and blueberry notes.
Kate Wagner Zeke, Sommelier(ISG)
Certified Specialist of Wine, Certified Wine Educator(SWE)