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Summer in a Bottle of Wine

Erin O'Reilly - Certified Specialist of Wine

Refreshing summer wines tempt the palate as a perfect pairing to rising temperatures and lighter food. Pasta salads, fruit salads, garden salads - all call for vibrant wines that bring charm to the summer season.

Most turn to whites or Rosé for these long sultry months, but reds also have a place on the checkered picnic table. 

A glass of white wine outside next to a platter of cheeses and grapes

Why Drink White Wine in Summer?

Typically, winemakers craft white wines to deliver fresh fruit on the nose and palate. A well-made white wine may give you zesty lemon, ripe pineapple, or juicy white peach. These and many more fruity characteristics naturally evoke sentiments of summertime. 

Some preferred white wine varietals, like Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc, have naturally high acid levels. Apart from making the wine taste crisp, acid induces that mouth-watering feeling through salivation, a pleasant change from bold, tannic reds that dry out your palate. 

In order to preserve the zippy natural acidity in white wines, many white grapes are harvested earlier than their red counterparts. This means that they may - though not always - be lower in alcohol compared to a full-bodied red, another upside to lazy sipping on an afternoon porch. 

A hand pours a glass of Rosé wine at a picnic

Summer Through Rosé Colored Glasses

Not only can your shades be tinted rose, but why not put some of that beautiful color into your wine glass? Rosé wines are simply perfect for Summer. They sit somewhere in between a zesty white wine with their excellent acidity, and a juicy red wine with fresh berry fruits in the aroma and on the palate.

Rosé wines are typically produced using red wine grapes. Luckily, nearly any red varietal can be used, however traditional Southern Rhône Provencal varieties tend to include ones like Grenache, Syrah, or Mourvèdre. Although many winemakers are now experimenting with others such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, or Pinot Noir.

And don't worry! There are many options for dry Rosé wines along with the sweet and semi-sweet options. If you're looking for some unique Rosé wines, be sure to check out our Rosé Special, which features small-production, dry Rosés (quantities are limited)!

Holding a glass of red wine in front of a summery table

White and Rosé are good, but...Can we drink red wine in summer?

Of course! What says ‘summer’ more than a BBQ? Red wine always partners best with rich BBQ, where the red wine’s structure can match that of strong sauces, marinades, or spices. Malbec, a red grape originally from France and now the signature grape of Argentina, delivers everything you need for a weekend of grilling. 

Keep in mind that high tannin wines, like many Cabernet Sauvignons, may make that spicy, secret family BBQ sauce taste even more picante, and the wine seem out of balance. It’s better to go for a red wine with lower tannin levels to help balance out strong seasoning. In addition to Malbec, a friendly Merlot is a solid choice with its medium tannin levels. 

And if you’re looking for something new, try a Dolcetto (dole-chet-oh), or 'little sweet one' in Italian. This red grape makes a soft, low-tannin, fruity red wine that captures summer’s spirit when enjoyed alongside rustic fare. Yum!

White wine sangria with lemon and herbs on a marble countertop

Ready for a Little Summer Wine Whimsy?

Nothing says summertime better than sangria! Add fresh fruit to your Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio and get ready to invite the neighbors over. Try sliced green apple, orange, lemon, lime, peach, mango - anything that speaks to you. Sangria’s a joyful way to celebrate wine alongside the season’s bounty.

After all, summer’s the perfect time to try new wines or classic favorites served with a twist. Enjoy!

Erin O'Reilly Author Bio Image Author Bio: Erin O’Reilly is a Certified Specialist of Wine with the Society of Wine Educators and a long-time lover of all things fermented grape. She pens her work from Monterey wine country where she raises a glass to the growers and producers crafting wines that transcend time.