Red, White or Rosé – What To Drink Before Summer is Over
Ah, summer. The days get long. The temperatures get warm. The windows get rolled down and the trees leaf out to provide just the right amount of shade for hammocks. So, what do you do on a lazy summer afternoon? You pack the blanket and snacks, grab a favorite person or two, go find a patio or park, chill with a good bottle of wine and just listen to the wind blow.
But what wine? What are the rules? The pressure. Was it no white wines after labor day? Or, was it no red wines after Memorial Day? Is pink wine just for pansies? All are reasonable questions…except for all of them. There are no rules. If the people are there and the wine is ready, drink it. That said, here are some tips to get you going in the right direction when picking the best summer wine.
Warning: 1970’s wine related pop-culture alert!
How About a Bottle of White
White wine is an easy choice when the mercury rises. Light, chilled, refreshing and perfect for pairing with that emergency brie and baguette you keep in the trunk of your car. You do keep an emergency brie in your car, don’t you? And sure, a buttery Chardonnay is a safe choice, but why not stretch out and go off-dry 2014 Hugel Riesling, Alsace, France – $19, crisp and clean Round Pond 2014 Sauvignon Blanc, or downright cheap and green with a Vinho Verde from Portugal – simply summer in a bottle, busting with citrus and just enough of the lightest effervescence to bring the party Aveleda Vinho Verde, Portugal – $14.
Or, Bottle of Red
For some reason, red wines don’t appeal to many summer sippers as much on warm days. Maybe it’s the serving temperature. Do hot days always call for cold drinks? Maybe it’s the perceived depth and richness of reds more than whites. Don’t be foolish. For centuries, people in the warmest climates have chilled on the porch with a simple glass of Primitivo 2012 Varvaglione Vigne & Vini Primitivo – $19 or Beaujolais 2012 Domaine des Terres Dorées Fleurie Grille Midi Beaujolais – $26. The lighter to medium bodied red wines can be excellent choices to pair with an antipasto plate of summer tomatoes, veggies and bread.
Perhaps a Bottle of Rosé Instead
A lot has been said and written about the recent resurgence in popularity of rosés over the past couple years. One thing’s for sure, nothing says “warm summer day” quite like a good rosé (hey, that rhymes). Grab yourself a loaf of ciabatta, some medium/soft cheeses like Gruyère and Havarti, an apple and couple dates and find yourself a nice spot in a park to pop the cork on some pink. That’s summer. Try the 2014 Cuvaison Vin Gris of Pinot Noir – $22, or something a little more traditional and fabulous from Provence, France with Domaine des Diables 2013 Bonbon Rosé – $29.
If you still can’t decide, then channel your inner Spaniard and make some Sangria – then get a table near the street, in our old familiar place, you and I, face to face. It’s a Billy Joel thing.
Simple Sangria Rosso
Recipe by Greg Masinton
1 (750-ml) bottle red wine (recommended: Spanish Garnacha – Bodegas Borsao from Tres Picos – $15)
1/4 cup brandy
1/4 cup triple sec (or Grand Marnier)
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 orange, thinly sliced
1/2 lemon, thinly sliced
1 unwaxed apple, cored, and cut into thin wedges
1 (750-ml) bottle sparkling water, chilled
Combine everything but the sparkling water in a large container or glass pitcher. Stir to dissolve the sugar, cover and chill completely, 2 hours. When ready to serve, add the sparkling water, mix well and pour over ice.
Bonus points: Add a cup of frozen red grapes at the end for a sweet alternative to ice.