Summer has arrived and, with it, warmer temperatures in most parts of the country. (Sorry, Colorado. Snow in late June?!? Yikes!)
Some people will tell you that when the temperatures rise, the wine options diminish. I will tell you that nothing could be further from the truth.
In my experience, many people gravitate to reds and stick with them during the winter. The slightly higher alcohol level helps warm the soul, while the flavor spectrum matches up nicely with the more hearty fare that’s typical of the season.
But during the summer, when lighter and brighter white and rosé-style wines come into favor, many of our favorite red wines remain in play. It’s simply a matter of figuring out what type of wine you enjoy with your favorite foods.
As we always note, every palate is different, so the list that follows is not set in stone. These simply are some of my favorite summertime wine-and-food indulgences…
- For thought-free sipping — A perfectly chilled (meaning not too cold) glass of Sauvignon Blanc or rosé. (No food necessary.)
- With shrimp or scallops — Sauvignon Blanc (again, perfectly chilled).
- With oysters — Sparkling wine. It could be Champagne for a special treat, but Prosecco (from Italy) or Cava (from Spain) or other sparkling wines from other countries are perfectly fine.
- With a light, creamy, cheesy risotto — Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio.
- With a burger, topped with grilled onions — A Cotes du Rhone, or other wines made with Syrah, Grenache and/or Mourvedre.
- A grilled steak — Zinfandel… red, not white. This is perhaps my favorite pairing of the summer. During other months, I typically uncork or order (if at a restaurant) a big, bold Cabernet Sauvignon to enjoy with a thick cut of beef. But during grilling season, a brighter red with jammy fruit flavors perfectly complements the “char” of the grill.
A summertime steak and a glass of Zin makes me a happy camper… with no motorhome or tent needed.