It’s summer (finally) and we’re in the “wine on the patio season”.
I have been polling people at my tasting events and it does seem people’s thoughts about wine change in the summer. Even the most devoted red wine lovers start favouring refreshing Whites and Roses. The lighter Reds that can be lightly chilled gain favour as well.
This begs the question: Why does this change in thinking occur? I think it is 2 things that drive this change in behaviour. One is obvious; that is, a chilled wine is a much more attractive drink in hot weather. A big, heavy Red is just not that appealing when its 30 °C outside. The other is not so obvious. It’s the high acidity in those refreshing Whites, Roses, and lighter Reds.
Let me explain. This type of acidity is a good thing. Acidity helps the wine achieve balance. That means you need that component to offset the fruit and any residual sugar that is present. It’s also the attribute in wine that makes it mouth watering/refreshing – the more acidity in the wine, the more the effect. This same outcome can be achieved by drinking another popular summer drink, lemonade. The reason we like these drinks is the same: that refreshing characteristic is attractive to us in hot weather.
Now let’s have a look at some wines to make our summer better. As customary, my ratings are based on a 5 star system developed by the British wine writer, Michael Broadbent: 5 stars: Outstanding; 4 stars: Very good; 3 stars: Good; 2 stars: Moderately good; 1 star: Not very good, but not bad; No stars: Poor.
L’Avenir Far and Near Chenin Blanc ★★★½ $15.95 (Vintages) Chenin is the most planted grape in South Africa and this one is very good and nearly full bodied. It’s dry with pear, lemon, peach, yellow plum, and minerals with lovely acid balance. If you want a fruity wine for the patio, this is it.
Paco and Lola Albarino ★★★★ $19.95 (Vintages) Clear pale lemon in colour this wine hails from the Rias Baixas region in the North West of Spain. Although not well known, it should be. It shows lemon, lime, grapefruit, green apple, stone fruit, and minerals. It would be delicious with any seafood, but particularly good with shrimp pasta.
Santa Julia Torrontes 2018 ★★★★ $13.95 (Vintages) This organic white wine from the high Andes in Argentina is full bodied, aromatic, and intensely fruity with racy acidity. It’s a great value and would be very good with rich seafood like Atlantic salmon.
Bollini Pinot Grigio Trentino 2017 ★★★ $18.95 (Vintages) A good Pinot Grigio that shows much better acid balance than some others from warmer regions in Italy. It has light aromas of pear, apple, and wet stones. A white that’s refreshing to drink on the back deck or good with light appetizers.
Sacred Hill Sauvignon Blanc 2018 ★★★★ $15.95 (LCBO) If you love the ripe tropical fruit style of Sauvignon from the Marlborough region on New Zealand’s South Island, this is a nice one for your summer drinking. Great to sip, it’s also a good match for your salad course, especially if it has spinach and goat cheese or some mango.
Malivoire Vivant Rose 2018 ★★★★ $19.95 (Vintages) Beautifully pale, this Niagara Pinot Noir based rose has bigger flavours of strawberry, red cherry, watermelon, and pear than you would expect based on the colour intensity. Really nice with cold asparagus and white bean salad.
Chateau L’Aumerade Cuvee Marie-Christine Rose 2017 ★★★½ $19.95 (Vintages) If you love pale pink Rose from Provence, you will like this Grenache, Cinsault, and Syrah blend. Notes of strawberry, lemon, and Provencal herbs will float from your glass. If you have a course with the typical South of France trinity of tomato, black olive, and garlic, this will match perfectly.
Cave Spring Gamay 2017 ★★★½ $16.95 (LCBO) This is a great summer red since it can be served lightly chilled. It’s a medium bodied Niagara red with light tannins, but loads of strawberry, raspberry, and sweet red cherry. Very food friendly, it can pair with everything from grilled chicken to tomato pasta.
Susana Balbo Signature Malbec 2017 ★★★½ $19.95 (Vintages) Deep ruby in the glass, this is a red for your grilled pork with BBQ sauce. Dry and pretty much full bodied, it exudes black fruits like blackberry and black cherry with hints of spice and vanilla.
The Musician by Majella 2015 ★★★½ $19.95 (Vintages) Another bigger red for your BBQ that comes from one of Australia’s best wine regions, Coonawarra. This wine has blackberry, black cherry, red plum, red cherry, red currant, and a little leafiness. Fire up the grill and pair with some steak and mushrooms.
Tedeschi Capitel Nicalo Valpolicella Superiore 2016 ★★★½ $17.95 (Vintages) Valpolicella is a lighter Italian red based the Corvina grape. For those days when you’re eating inside, the flavours of red cherry, red plum, some dark cherry, and cedar mesh well with pastas in a tomato cream sauce.
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Cheers and enjoy the journey, Trent