Oh, summer in Louisiana arrives this month. June 21 is the first official day of summer, and during this crazy hot season, we in the restaurant and retail industries see an influx of white wine drinkers. It’s blisteringly warm so everyone wants to drink something chilled and refreshing. Personally, I drink white wines, champagnes and rosés year round but this is a great time of year to explore some summery wines.
As always, I have a small disclaimer. You can drink whatever you’d like at whatever temperature you want. I’m suggesting some styles of wine that are at their best when chilled and are super refreshing for our warm seasons. Continue on with your red wines, bourbon or scotch if you want. Just throwing that out there.
First (and obviously), drink rosé. These are perfect styles of wines that offer a variety of taste profiles. I’m not talking about White Zinfandel or sweet blushes. I’m talking about dry and high acidity. My favorite styles come from Spain and France. If you are new to rosé, you should seek out any rosé from Provence, France. These are perfect entry wines that have light strawberry flavors with lime zippiness that are great for staying hydrated while outdoors. Spanish wines usually offer some wild varieties in their blends like Tempranillo, Viura and Garnacha. They also are referred to sometimes as “Rosado.” Spain offers a bit more of a cherry, berry flavor and are typically pretty inexpensive. Try them both with a cheese board or light salad.
Next up — bubbles! Most people believe that sparkling wine is only for special occasions or for celebrating something. These are perfect for summertime sipping. They are light and dry with hints of fruit that won’t weigh you down. Champagnes are expensive, yes. Try a Prosecco from Italy or Cava from Spain or even a Cremant from France (Cremant is the name for sparkling wine produced outside of Champagne in France). These are great for everyday drinking and are very wallet friendly. You easily find them ranging from $8-19. Be sure to look for the terms “traditional method,” “methode traditional” or “method champenoise.” These terms refer to the way the wine was produced. It’s letting you know it was produced in the traditional method they use to make those high-dollar champagnes. A forced carbonation can cause you to get some pretty serious headaches if you have a few too many.
Lastly, try some Sauvignon Blanc. Every region that produces Sauv Blanc has specific characteristics about its wine. New Zealand is definitely the most famous producer with hints of grapefruit with bell pepper or jalapeño undertones. One of the most famous is Kim Crawford. If you are looking for something with less grapefruit and vegetal, France and California are great places to look. You’ll find some really fun wines from Bordeaux, Sancerre and Pouilly-Fume in France along with some very elegant ones from Napa Valley in California and some lesser-known areas of Oregon.
There are some truly great wines that are a bit off the beaten path. Check wine tastings at your favorite shops or just ask your go to wine guy or gal. Take my advice — drink plenty of rosé, bubbly and Sauvignon Blanc and you’ll have a great summer.