What is better in the summer than sitting outside, chatting with friends, and sipping delicious wine? Pretty much nothing, especially these days. It is an exciting time in the wine world, with many different countries and regions producing and exporting wine. This summer get out of your comfort zone and make an effort to try some new types of wine and discover a new favorite.
Here are 5 summer wines that may not be on your radar, but should be.
Prosecco may be getting all the attention these days but don’t overlook Spanish Cava when you’re in the mood for bubbles and don’t want to break the bank. Unlike Prosecco, most Spanish Cava are made in the méthod champenoise or Champange method. This refers to the technique used in making Champagne, where the wine gets its bubbles by going through a secondary fermentation in the bottle. This adds more complexity to the flavors of the wine, but unlike real Champagne, Cava is affordable and goes down easily on a hot summer day. Also, like most sparkling wine, it pairs well with a very wide range of foods.
Picpoul de Pinet
The grape Picpoul, particularly from the French town of Pinet near the Mediterranean Sea, is a summer white that is often ignored because of its unrecognizable name. Crystal clear, with a delicate nose and excellent acidity levels, this wine pairs well with summer foods. Medium-bodied with summery flavors such as grapefruit and melon, these wines are excellent matches for shellfish and dishes with summer vegetables such as peas.
When people think Chardonnay, they often think of heavy white wines with a lot of oak influence and often buttery flavor profiles. While a lot of Chardonnay fits that description, especially those bottles from California, the Chardonnay grape itself can taste very different depending on who is making the wine and where in the world they are. For a crisp and summery Chardonnay, pick up a bottle of Chablis. The Chardonnay making region of Chablis is located in the northwest corner of Burgundy in France and they rarely, if ever, use any oak-aging. The resulting wine is light-bodied, with a bright acidity and a flinty minerality. These pair nicely with sushi and other raw fish dishes, lighter meats and fresh herbs.
Word is officially out that Rosé wine is indeed delicious, and should not be confused with the sweet white Zinfandel. French Rosé seems to be everyone’s gateway to Rosé wine, so why not try and explore bottles coming out of Spain. Spanish Rosés tend to be a bit more deeper in color with more overt flavors of fruit than their French counterparts. These pair well with a wide range of foods and would be perfect for a summer barbecue, as they are cool and refreshing but would stand up to meat.
For the red wine only drinkers out there, there are still plenty of red wines that work well in summer. One that is not as well known as others is Bardolino, an Italian red wine from the Verona area of Italy. The three main grapes used in Bardolino are the same as in Valpolicella, but the percentages are different and produce very different wine. Bardolino is lighter-bodied, with more light fruit notes and pairs well with a wide range of foods, especially charcuterie and fish. It is also a perfect choice to pair with pizza.
Writer Bio: Kristin Crane is a writer and designer living in Providence, Rhode Island. She works with small businesses to help them promote themselves in various industries including food, wine, and the arts. She also contributes as Travel Editor to The Lady Project blog.