There are never any rules for wine drinking, beside the golden rule that says drink what tastes great. But there are some wine and dine combinations and presentations that elevate what’s in the glass. The summer season — packed with fresh fruits and veg, outdoor dining and activities, and an all around atmosphere of vibrancy — gives us reason to play with our bottle choices to suit the mood. Here’s where our heads are at as we slip into summer.
Fire. History tells us how much a flame changes the way we eat and what we eat. There will be meat this summer, and much of it will be cooked over an open flame. You’ve got your basic grilling fare: burgers, brats, sausages, and steaks. You’ve also got your regional BBQ, barbecue, or barbeque which uses smoke and spice in addition to fire (so many variations!). Plus there are grilled veggies, kabobs, seafood, shellfish, salad, and even pizza. Rustic and full-bodied reds are our go-to for most fire-grilled food — try a few of your favorite varieties for elemental summer pairings.
Chillable reds are light bodied, often young with fresh fruit or spice notes, that benefit from a slight cooling. Not like “just pulled from an overnight in the fridge” cold, but somewhere around 50°F–55°F, which can be achieved from 30ish minutes in the refrigerator. Gamay is one of the icons in this category, but other reds such as Pinot Noir or Zweigelt are good players for a touch of chill. For balmy summer sipping, these are excellent with fresh salads, soft cheese, salty snacks, or as apéro or boat drinks.
Light and Crisp Whites
Here we go. Now this is summer. Absolutely chilled, bright and fresh, essentially food-friendly — white wines in this category sing of summer. You know many of these by name — Sauvignon Blanc, Alabrino, Vinho Verde — and yet you could drink around the world following the path of crisp white wines from regional varieties. Every wine culture has their version of refreshing, acid-driven bottles that are made to go from ice to table all summer long. Fresh veg, grilled fruits, even summer snacks like popcorn are easily matched with this category.
It’s more than a trope: rosé really has the personality of summer. Though enjoyed by wine enthusiasts year round, there’s something about the red fruit, citrus, and mineral notes of rosé that jives with super fresh seasonal herbs and produce that comes to the market this time of year. And the serve-chilled personality of rosé makes it charming for poolside, beach, patio, and pool. Plus there are bottles in this category with slightly lower alcohol, keeping in line with that “second glass because we’re thirsty” mentality.
Not everyone brings a bottle of bubbly to a picnic, but we aren’t sure why not. With sparkling wines made around the world and all the price points, don’t miss out on the joy of drinking a cold glass of bubbly on a hot day. We love how fizzy pét-nat in a juice glass works with a handful of fresh almonds, or when a bottle of Champagne offers just the right level of stone fruit and or orchard flavors to bring the scent and taste of summer to life. Bubbly is great with lobster rolls, grilled fish, or even a shared bowl of salty potato chips.