Here Are The Best Summer Wines To Try At Your Next Gathering
This is the season for pool parties or better yet, grill out in your backyard or by the lake, watching the children and friends skiing in the waters while sipping on some of these cool refreshing best summer wines.
In summer, the perfect soiree features light, simple offerings paired with subtle and thoroughly refreshing summer wines. It is true that people can drink all types of wines all through the different seasons. Nonetheless, some wines are perfect for the searing heat of the summer and some even more perfect for pairing with the signature juicy grilled steaks of summer.
With all the entertaining that people do during the summer, it is essential to have a rich collection of thirst-quenching summer wines for the different indoor and outdoor occasions. However, with thousands of wines in the market, the process of selecting summer wines is often confusing and full of dilemmas.
What follows is a collection of some of the best red, white and rose wines to have during summer. Some of them have cemented their positions as recurrent favorites while others are relatively new. The best thing about the list is that most of the wines go for below 40$ except just a handful of them.
1. Il Poggione 2010 Brunello di Montalcino ($85)
After every entertaining session, hosts are bound to want to enjoy some solitary time in silence indulging in some top-of-the-range red wine. This one is dubbed the Prince of Montalcino wines and is exclusively made from Sangiovese grapes that are from vines that are more than 20 years old. The wine is then matured in French oak barrels for three years after which it is bottled and aged for some time.
Some wine experts describe it as having notes of ripe cherry, leather, earth, tobacco, and Underwood. Other wine experts describe it as having notes of rose petal, mint, cinnamon, dark fruit, savory herbs and firm tannins. However one chooses to describe it, Il Poggione’s Brunello is a harmonious, refreshing and savory red wine that is perfect for a warm summer night.
Some have even compared it to the 1982 Riserva. Anyone intending to indulge in the Il Poggione’s Brunello should get two bottles; one to drink, the other to store in the cellar for a few years to enhance its rich taste even further.
2. Brandlin 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Mount Veeder ($60)
The Brandlin Vineyard is well renowned for its great wines. This Cabernet Sauvignon is a great summer wine made using traditional methods such as cold soaking, macerating on the skins and almost two years of maturing in French oak barrels. It has rich fruity notes that make it ideal for summer and a fruitful aroma that is reflective of the fruit-filled Mount Veeder.
The wine also exhibits notes of cedar, loamy earth and tar. A sip of this summer red wine ends with a long and chewy note of tannin that fully compliments the wine’s fruity profile. This bottle is particularly perfect for an outdoor occasion.
3. 2014 Layer Cake California Cabernet Sauvignon ($14)
Summer in the United States is not complete without a sip of some California Cabernet. This particular one is made at the Layer Cake Winery and features the same excellent quality as other quality wines such as Shiraz (South Australia), Zinfandel and even world famous Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon but at a more affordable price. It is smooth with notes of ripe plum and cassis. It also features notes of cedar (thanks to the fact that the wine is aged in used Hundred Acre barrels), toasty oak, spicy plums and Maduro tobacco.
At the end of it all, a long and persistent taste of chocolate and juicy blackcurrant remains making this cabernet sauvignon ideal for the sweltering summer heat.
4. 2013 Edmeades Mendocino County Zinfandel ($15)
Another product of California, this Zinfandel is mostly earthy and spicy with traces of blackberry, cherry, black pepper, dark shaved chocolate, red licorice and a coating of cedar. Ben Salazar is the brain behind this tasty budget summer wine. This Zin is particularly suitable for meals featuring roasted poultry, stews, lasagna, and barbecue. The spicy texture of this Zinfandel compliments condiments and marinades quite well.
5. Robert Mondavi Private Selection Bourbon Barrel Aged Cabernet Sauvignon ($14)
Made with Cabernet Sauvignon red wine grapes sourced from the Coastal California vineyards, this is a fine summer wine that is ideal for outdoor grills and even as a gift for an evening soiree or even a housewarming party in summer. It is a deep cherry red color and features an aroma of toasty vanilla and brown sugar.
The wine is aged in bourbon barrels made from 100% American oak which enhances its toasty black cherry and blackberry flavors and also its toasty aroma. Feel free to pair this wine up with some bourbon glazed grilled ribs or any other barbecue.
1. 2012 Cadia Chardonnay IGT ($14.99)
Any wine enthusiast knows that getting a great Italian chardonnay for below $20 is like finding a three-leafed clover and it is advisable to buy a case or two of this Chardonnay. It is cheaper than alternatives of similar quality and is the perfect summer Chardonnay.
The wine is a straw-yellow color with hints of gold. It features a rich array of flavors including sweet apple, wildflower, apricot and acacia honey. This Italian Chardonnay is ideal as an accompaniment to risotto and pasta dishes served with seafood. It also goes well with fish appetizers.
2. J. Lohr 2013 Gesture Viognier ($25)
A product of the Gean Vineyard in San Luis Obispo County in California, this is a crisp white wine that is a blend of 94% Viognier and 6% Roussanne. According to the winery, the berries used for the wine were harvested early in the morning and cluster pressed while still whole hence leading to a more intense flavor.
Fermentation was done in a barrel for 17 days while maturation took place in neutral French oak, new Acacia puncheons, and stainless steel for at least seven months with stirrings of each barrel taking place on a weekly basis from November 2013 to March 2014.
Despite the distinct acidity of the wine, it has a rich floral texture and is gentle on the tongue. It features layers of citrus, stone fruit, peach, pear and strong mineral flavors and a rich aroma that is a blend of lychee, lime custard, apricot, and honeysuckle. This summer wine is best paired with grilled chicken, spicy Indian and Caribbean dishes or even with some cheese.
3. Yealands Estate 2014 Single Block S1 Sauvignon Blanc Awatere Valley ($30)
The Awatere Valley is a wine-growing region in New Zealand that features herbaceous and lush Sauvignon Blancs with a distinct aroma of tomato leaf. The wine is a hue of medium lemon with delicate notes of white blossoms, green apples, white grapefruit, and pear. The palate has firm acidity and a strong mineral texture that stays in the mouth long after.
This is a great white wine to have when grilling pork by the pool or when indulging in a menu featuring seafood and poultry-based dishes. It also compliments creamy sauces well. This makes it a must-have summer wine.
4. 2009 S.A. Prüm Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Kabinett Mosel ($25)
Riesling is an aromatic white grape variety originating from the Rhine region of Germany. Many people had long misunderstood Riesling courtesy of a period in the 20th century when Germany was the source of low-quality wine. This is a light yellow colored wine with an alcohol content of 7.5% which is at the same level as most craft beers. It is clean and gentle on the nose with aromas of honey, lime, guava, and petrol.
On the palate, it features notes of honey, stone fruits, pear, white peach, light petrol, and minerals. The great balance between the acidity and the sweetness of this white makes it hard to stop sipping on it. It is excellent when paired with a spicy lamb curry, Thai cuisine or a creamy dessert.
5. Liberated 2015 Sauvignon Blanc ($17)
Summer is all about liberation, and that’s what Liberated Winery is all about. This Sauvignon Blanc comes in three different labels namely sophisticated, free spirit and inventor all of which are made from 100% Sauvignon Blanc.
On the nose, the Liberated Sauvignon is a blend of New Zealand, pineapples, peaches and lemon zest with traces of grapefruit. It is of medium-high acidity and features overly ripe fruity flavors with hints of smoky pineapple, gooseberry, lemongrass, passion fruit and even a hint of mineral flavors.
All these combine to form a light, fruity, refreshing and not too dry white wine perfect for a summer afternoon on the porch. It works great as a pairing for white sauce pasta, vegetarian dishes and even as a pairing for goat cheese.
Roses make the perfect gift for the hostess during summer because they are cool, versatile regarding pairings and have gentle beautiful colors. Some of the finer summer wines under the Rose variety of wines include;
1. Simi 2013 Dry Rose Sonoma County ($27)
This Salmon-peach colored rose is the result of a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon Malbec and Pinot Noir (87%, 10%, and 10% respectively). It is aromatic and light on the nose. This Rose is also dry but fruity making it deeply revitalizing especially in the summer heat.
On the palate, it features hints of melon, white flowers, ripe strawberry, violet and even orange blossom flavors. On the finish, it has a bright acidity and a black pepper finish with hints of tangerine.
Although this summer wine is quite versatile regarding food pairings, it compliments salmon, beef, lamb, veal, game, tuna, cheese (both hard and mature) and spicy foods quite well. It is also quite ideal for outdoor summer events due to its refreshing nature.
2. Louis Bouillot Perle d’Aurore Rosé ($19.99)
This sparkling Rose has its origins in Burgundy France. It is made from the finest Pinot Noir grapes using the Champagne method. It comes in a pale rose color, a medium body and fine, delicate bubbles which give it a feel of elegance and sophistication.
On the nose is a deep combination of aromas including notes of red fruit, raspberries, redcurrants and a sophisticated marmalade note. On the palate, it is crisp with traces of citrus and a dry but at the same time fruity (and rather creamy) finish. It is perfect for pairing with chic nibbles or with seafood dishes such as shrimp, lobster, or salmon. This Rose proves that sophistication does not have to burn a hole in the pocket.
3. 2015 Commanderie de la Bargemone Coteaux d’Aix en Provence Rosé
The Commanderie de la Bargemone was founded by the Knights Templar way back in the 13th Century and now consists of at least 160 acres of vines.
This Rosé is made using Cinsault Grenache Syrah grapes which are common in the Southern region of France. This explains why Rosés from the Provence are characteristically crisp and aromatic. The aroma includes hints of wild strawberry, red currants, and a floral texture.
Regarding taste, this Rosé is juicy and features traces of riper strawberry, tangerine and even watermelon all of which make it an ideal summer wine. The finishing features strong and persistent notes of honeysuckle and blood orange. Since it is light, crisp and dry, this Rosé goes perfectly as a pairing for salads and green vegetables. Other ideal pairings, especially in summer, include honey-basted duck and fish stew.
4. Lucien Albrecht Cremant d’Alsace Brut Rose ($21.99)
Originating from Alsace in France, this non-vintage sparkling Rose wine is made from hand-picked Pinot Noir grapes which are then wholly pressed using both long and soft pressing methods. This results in a light pink salmon color.
The second fermentation of this Rose is a process that takes place in the bottle. On the nose, it is clean light but at the same time, aromatic with notes of lemon, grapefruit, and red fruits. On the palate, it includes rich fruity flavors with a creamy texture and a crisp acidic finish that features notes of citrus. It is the kind of drink that is perfect right before dinner or as a pairing for smoked salmon or caviar.
2014 Layer Cake California Cabernet Sauvignon ($14)
Is this even a real category…well let’s see. The newest craze in the wine industry is orange wine. In fact, some experts have already tipped orange wine for greater popularity in 2017 going forward. This summer, one orange wine that is particularly worth trying out is the 2014 Layer Cake California Cabernet Sauvignon which goes for $14.
The wine has a unique palate that is rich in minerals but at the same time, has a revitalizing and scandalous end-taste. It comes in a deep orange color that makes it look like a late-harvest version of wine. Because of its dry and chewy texture, this orange wine is best enjoyed as a pairing with roasted vegetables, pork or even seafood.