Sunny skies. Warm days. Fireflies at dusk. Must be summer. And that also means enjoying some zippy white wines. One of my favorite things about wine is how much there is to chose from and how the many choices can fit any time or place. Summer is no exception with a bunch of white wines ideally suited to the season and the way we eat and entertain – or to simply just kick back and sip. And even though they’re different grape varieties and come from all over the world there are some things these summer sippers have in common:
- they aren’t oaky
- they tend to have lower alcohol
- they’re reasonably priced, and,
- they’re REFRESHING!
How can a wine be refreshing you may ask? One word – acid. All wines have acid in them, it’s one of the key components and that’s good when it’s in balance with the other components in the wine. The acidity gives these white wines a somewhat tart, clean feeling taste when you sip them. It makes the wine lively. Not only does that play nicely with many foods, but it adds the element to the sip I call refreshing. When supported with flavors that may remind you of peaches, pears or citrus fruits and served well-chilled, you’ll find the perfect glass for summer salads, lighter fish and seafood, nibbles al fresco or just sipping in the shade. Here are some zippy white varieties to look for:
- Albarino from Rias Baixas and Verdejo from Rueda in Spain.
- The wines of Vinho Verde in Portugal. Usually Alvarinho or Loureiro, this “green wine” is named that not because of color, but to drink young and fresh.
- Italian Pinot Grigio is a go-to summer wine that makes me think of Vespas and vacation! And vacation is also sipping the Gavi of the Piedmont, which is made from the Cortese grape, or Vernaccia di San Gimignano, the medieval hill town in Tuscany. Vernaccia is supposedly the wine of Michelangelo – and who doesn’t need a little inspiration now and then!
- Then there’s Gruner Veltliner with its lean somewhat spicy taste. This is the white wine of Austria and one of my summer favorites.
- And let’s not forget Sauvignon Blanc. There are terrific ones from Sancerre and the USA but the New Zealanders fit my summer mood. They’re tart and grassy and when I open them up (usually by unscrewing the cap) I swear I can hear the “click, click, whirr” sound of a sprinkler over newly mown grass.
There you have it – zippy white wines for summer. Here are a few I’ve been enjoying:
2013 La Morimoreno Albarino $13
2012 Nisia Old Vines Verdejo $14
2014 Lima Loureiro Vinho Verde $8
2014 Weingut Stadt Krems Gruner Veltliner $13
2014 Kris Pinot Grigio Delle Venizie IGT $12
2013 La Scolca Gavi $15
2013 Fonteleoni Vernaccia di Dan Gimignano $12
2014 Allen Scot Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc $12Now, let’s get back to the hammock!