Cheers to Summer – Midtown Magazine
A guide to warm-weather wines
By Doreen Colondres
Get your glass ready—summery wines are here! Whether you want a crisp white with an outdoor brunch, a light red with a barbecue, a fruity rosé with a summer sunset or a refreshing red with a dinner under the stars, there’s a grape varietal for every occasion. I believe that one life is not enough to taste all the grapes in the world. So, let’s be adventurous this summer!
• Look for wines with high acidity, which translates to freshness.
• Search for medium- to light-bodied wines (these also have low alcohol levels).
• Try rosés with an “intense personality.”
• Go with low-tannin reds.
This means “green wine” because the specific region of Portugal that this wine is from is beautifully green. This white, fizzy wine features great acidity and refreshing green notes. Because it’s low in alcohol, it’s perfect for the beach or a picnic. Enjoy it chilled.
One of the most popular white wines in Spain, this wine features fresh acidity, aromatic citrus and honeydew notes, rich stone fruit flavors and a light salty touch. It’s perfect with seafood, sushi and veggies. Serve it chilled.
This Rhone Valley region in France hosts the most dramatic and fascinating rosés. Tavel is usually a bold blend of nine grapes (primarily grenache and Cinsault). The wine’s intense red berries, and sometimes nutty notes, wonderfully enhance its complexity. This is a “red” you have to chill, and it’s perfect to drink while grilling.
Lovely and light, this floral, dry, bubbly red wine is great outdoors. Made with native grapes from Emilia-Romagna in Italy, this blend is bright purple, lightly tannic and low in alcohol, offering the perfect mix of acidity and sweetness. Look for a Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) seal on the bottle (which means the winemakers followed strict guidelines while making the wine). Serve chilled and pair with charcuterie or barbecue.
Argentina may be known for its Malbec, but during summer, I prefer Bonarda with burgers, hot dogs and empanadas. This French grape lives in Mendoza, Argentina. It’s known for soft fruitiness, good acidity, relatively low to medium alcohol and a great price.
Excluding the Tavel, these wines don’t age. Chill all of these (except the Bonarda) for three to four hours after opening them. Don’t keep them longer, unless you’re able to store them in a wine cooler. If you’re chilling the bottle last-minute, put it in a bucket with water and ice at a 50/50 ratio, plus a pinch of salt, for 30 minutes. It will chill perfectly.
Chef Doreen Colondres is a best-selling cookbook author, wine educator and owner of Vitis House in Raleigh