“What’s a great summertime wine”? The answer really depends on many factors, but in an ideal world it would be the wine in your glass and mine. That’s at least the way it should be, but how to find the best summertime wines rests on personal preference, accompaniments, companions, and of course the temperature at which the wine is consumed, to mention just a few variables.
For summertime wines, white wine and rosé come to most people’s minds by default, with Chardonnay still front and center simply because it remains the planet’s most ubiquitous white varietal, but there are so many other great summertime wines from which to choose. Sauvignon Blanc with its crisp herbal edge and refreshing acidity gets two thumbs up, and there is a lot more to Sauvignon Blanc than New Zealand’s grapefruit bombs. Chile and South Africa turn out splendid Sauvignon Blancs in a myriad of styles. France, the home of Sauvignon Blanc, also fashions wonderful white wines. Sancerre and the Loire Valley are notable for their Sauvignon Blancs, while Bordeaux offers a dizzying array of pleasurable summertime drinking with white wines, from 100% Sauvignon Blanc to blends containing Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Sauvignon Gris and Muscadelle. Chenin Blanc also deserves serious consideration as a summertime favorite. Vouvray Sec, the quintessential dry Chenin Blanc from France’s Loire Valley, makes a wonderful warm weather companion. Racauderie Gautier and Vigneau-Chevreau are two reliable high quality Vouvray producers, though South Africa also fashions first rate Chenin Blanc. All are delicious with a moderate chill.
Increasingly, my go to summertime wines include beautiful crisp Italian white wines such as the 3 V’s: Verdicchio, Vermentino, and Vernaccia di San Gimignano. Colpaola’s Verdicchio di Matelica, Le Colonne’s Vermentino Costa Toscana, and Fontaleoni’s Vernaccia di San Gimignano will all be in my glass this summer because there is no smoke and mirrors, only fresh natural flavors that quench the thirst, please the palate, and refresh the soul. And what would summer be like without an invigorating glass of Provençal rosé? Not a very good summer at all I think, so I will pour myself a glass of the 2021 Le Provençal Cotes de Provence Rosé while I fire up the grill. It will then be time to open a good red, cooled to about 60° F. California Zinfandel, Italian Primitivo, and a host of Mediterranean reds, cooled to 58-60° F, also make great summertime wines with almost anything that comes from the grill. Sequum’s Napa Valley Zinfandel from California and Masserie Pizari’s Salento Rosso Primitivo from Southern Italy will certainly be on my summertime wine list. What’s on your summertime wine list? Enjoy!