Chill Out with Summer’s 5 Most Refreshing Wines

Things have been heating up in Florida and across the country lately. When temperatures start to spike into the 90’s I’m not apt to open that heavy bottle of Cabernet or Zinfandel. So here are a few of my new favorite summer wines, which also conveniently pair extremely well with summer cuisine (can you say grill?)

Best Light White: Pascual Toso Torrontes, 2009
From: Mendoza, Argentina
Grape(s): 100% Torrontes
Price: $13
Torrontes is my new favorite white wine, but boy am I picky when it comes to the bottle. I’ve seen it made it two distinctive styles: light & crisp (like an Italian Pinot Grigio), and more full-bodied and floral. I’m a sucker for big flavors, so I prefer the second style. This grape evokes such a fresh finish while maintaining strong flavors of honeysuckle through the front and mid palette. It reminds you of almost a oaked chardonnay – in a good way – but it’s not aged in oak, probably indicative of both the terrior and the varietal characteristics. Fantastic wine at a great price point.
Pair with: Chicken in a BBQ or cream sauce

Best Unique White: Austrian Pepper Gruner Veltliner, 2008
From: Austria
Grape(s): 100% Gruner Veltliner
Price: $18
When it comes to warm weather there is only one thing I crave…fish, and lots of it. Raw fish, grilled fish, smoked fish. You name the style, and I’ll eat it. Problem? I like my fish with a little kick. Weather it’s a cayenne rub on the grill or wasabi on my tuna I just need a little spice in my life…and spice is not often a friend to wine. Except in Austria (and Germany). If you are looking for a wine to subdue those spicy flavors in your life, this is it. Some lesser Gruners often have an overwhelming ripe green apple flavor to it. While that is on of the true characteristics to the wine, there should be more depth than just biting into a Granny Smith. This wine adds some pepper and lavender notes to the bright green acidity typically found.
Pair with: Tuna with a wasabi-mayo sauce, Mahi tacos blackened in a spicy rub

Best Rose: Starmont Merryvale Rose of Cabernet, 2009
From: Napa Valley, California
Grape(s): 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
Price: $18
I’m happy to report that in 2011, we as Americans accomplished two important feats in the wine world. 1. We were able to drink more wine than the rest of the world. 2. We FINALLY got rid of that horrible stereotype that all rose is White Zinfandel. As we see sales of rose grow, we are continually looking for innovative styles to entice our palette. New to use this year? A rose made of 100% Cabernet….mmm. The Starmont has flavors reminiscent of its big brother – plums, dark cherry, cocoa, cassis – but maintains the light and bright feel of the rose style. This is truly a red drinker’s rose.
Pair with: Rack of ribs drenched in your favorite sauce

Best Unique Red: Simonsig Pinotage, 2007
From: Stellenbosch, South Africa
Grape(s): Pinotage (cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsaut)
Price: $20
I’ll admit, until about one month ago I thought less of Pinotage…and people who drink Pinotage. I had never tasted one that could count as an ok beverage, let alone a good wine. Simonsig proved me wrong. Flavors of bright red fruit and spiciness on the finish. Would I drink it everyday? No, but it’s a hell of a wine with a grilled pizza.
Pair with: Grilled pizza preferably meat based with a sauce with a kick

Best Burger Wine: Tarima Monastrel, 2010
From: Jumilla, Spain
Grape(s): 100% Monastrell
Price: $10
Let’s face it, I own a wine store, I get to sample a lot of wines in a lot of price points. When I sit down at night for dinner, there are not many times when I grab a $10 bottle. I don’t think of myself as a snob, but more as an opportunist. Who knows when all the premium wine could disappear…I should drink it now! This is my exception. Soft and smooth, flavors of grape, licorice and a little strawberry this sucker has fooled multiple wine lovers in blind tastings. Drinks way above its price point.
Pair with: A nice, juicy burger


Posted on June 6, 2011, in Wine and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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