As summer heat oppresses us, it’s time to break away from full-bodied reds and shift to light and refreshing wines.
There’s a world of wines to get us through the summer heat, including a few roses and reds that are easy to overlook.
We all know syrah and zinfandel are great with barbecues but not so great with summer heat. If you find you still long for red wines when it’s 95 degrees in the shade, try lighter styles such as pinot noir. The light-bodied wine accepts a slight chill before serving, making it a refreshing option. The most important tip for serving summer reds — or any wine for that matter — is to serve the wine at the correct temperature. Although you don’t want to serve red wine ice cold, it shouldn’t be served warm either. Don’t let red wines heat up, because it accentuates the tannin and alcohol, making them anything but refreshing. Most red wines are best served between 55 and 65 degrees.
- 2011 Cellar No. 8 Pinot Noir, California (about $9 retail) 2010 Kenwood Pinot Noir, California (about $14 retail)
- 2010 Adelsheim Vineyard Pinot Noir, Oregon (about $32 retail) 2009 David Bruce Central Coast Pinot Noir, California (about $26 retail)
If you keep in mind that not all rose wines are sweet, this may be the ultimate summer cool-down choice. Rose has all the antioxidant benefits of a red wine (rose is made using the skins of the grapes) with the refreshing taste of white wine. Quality rose wine is neither sweet nor fizzy, and from many producers it’s a refreshing bone-dry wine filled with fresh flavors of cherry, strawberry and raspberries.
- 2011 La Vieille Ferme Rose, France (about $11 retail) 2011 Jacobs Creek Shiraz/Rose, Australia (about $11 retail)
- 2011 Belle Glos Pinot Noir Rose, California (about $21 retail) 2011 Turkey Flat Rose, Australia (about $20 retail)
There’s no getting around it, summertime is the right time for a chilled white wine. When it’s hot, the most refreshing are light-bodied whites.
- 2011 Rosemount Estate Pinot Grigio, California (about $11 retail)
- 2011 Matua Valley Sauvignon Blanc, New Zealand (about $14 retail)
- 2009 D’Arenberg Hermit Crab Marsanne/Viognier, Australia (about $19 retail)
- 2011 Bridlewood Reserve Viognier, California (about $24 retail)