For many wine drinkers, summer means switching from red wines to white wines, but for me it’s more about choosing different red and white wines. After all, I’m an equal opportunity imbiber. I like both red and white wine, and I don’t relish giving up either, even for several months. In my ideal world every main meal throughout the year would begin with a tantalizing white wine to whet the taste buds, continue with a kick butt red, and follow with a meditative wine of either persuasion. But alas, my wallet and liver won’t support that much indulgence. So, I choose.
About this time of year, I think Bordeaux Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Albariño, Verdejo, and the multitude of fresh, charming white wines that emanate from Italy. These are the kinds of white wines that make sitting on the porch with glass in hand a truly noble ambition – a time to relax, talk, watch the sun go down, or just wait for the grill to be hot enough to begin preparing dinner. That would also be time to decide what red wine to serve with whatever goes on the grill. For me, summer means choosing young red wines from the South of France, full-bodied aromatic offerings from California and South America, and Spanish reds of all sizes and styles. As the product of hot, dry Mediterranean climates, these reds can hold up to summer heat and whatever comes off the grill. Just remember to keep summer reds cool, which can be a real challenge. In hot weather, there’s nothing wrong with putting a bottle of red wine in the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes to bring it to cellar or cool room temperature (60°-65°F). I do, and I’m not ashamed. Life’s just too short not to enjoy red wine all year long.