The hottest white wines of the summer
It's hot, it's humid, it's sunny. Its also beautiful outside with floral and herbaceous aromas lingering in the air, the and if you are close to the coast then even a bit of salinity coming in from the sea breeze. I feel as though I could just as easily be describing what is right outside my window this very moment as I could be describing a delicious and fresh white wine. Its as though summer was made for white wines, or maybe white wines were the genius invention of a winemaker who ached for his favorite grapes to quench his thirst on a hot day. You just cannot deny that summer and white wine make for the perfect pairings, that is if you find the hottest wines to drink this summer. Wines like...
Albariño is making waves right now in its very many forms. You have probably seen it in some capacity in the kick ass and super accessible Vinho Verde from Portugal, where it is blended with other super fresh white varietals to create a frizzante (lightly sparkling, kind of fizzy) wine that is super crushable. You may have also heard it on the lips of serious wine scenesters who praise the salinity and lemon-lime bite of wines from Spain's hippest wine region, Rias Baixas. Its also making its way west, where California has captured some awesome qualities in the grape and taking it to the next level, like the Keep Wines Albariño. Albariño is crushable and electric enough to pair with your summer lunch or just drink on its own.
Minerality, lemons, peaches, honey, and honeysuckle. Together they sound like a seductive summer concoction. What if I told you that they were thrown together into a bottle of wine? Chenin Blanc is that wine, and it's going to make you ditch your basic Sauvignon Blanc, but also show you so much more. A lot of young winemakers from California are working with Chenin Blanc, making it as ubiquitous with trendy, hot winemaking as natural wine! Great Chenins of the moment are bright, invigorating, and refreshing. Awesome wines that grip your heart like a sexy summer fling.
Verdicchio was once the talk of the town, the along came over hyped Chardonnays and it lost its way. However when you want something easy going, chill, and not too complicated then Verdicchio is there for you. Verdicchio has a superb acidic punch that makes it a brilliant companion for light seafood dishes. Clean, crisp, and zippy, there are probably few white wines out there that will be as thirst quenching as Verdicchio. This is going to be your go-to wine for a hot Saturday afternoon.
Any good wine store in the world is keeping a Grüner Veltliner in their fridge right now. Grüners are some of the most delicious and refreshing white wines that you can find. They have a snappy green apple and citrus flavor that has just the right amount of acidity and bite to make it interesting. There is also a bouquet of fresh white daisies that will make you feel as if you are frolicking in a fresh meadow. Think of Grüner Veltliner as an adult Fresca, lots of citrus flavors, super refreshing, zesty, light, and easy to drink.
Nothing quite says refreshing like a dry white wine, and nothing is more rewarding than a dry Riesling. Riesling is a great choice for the super chill drinkers who just want something easy and refreshing, but also for the super geeky who want to taste the terroir and chat about the differences from region to region. Whichever region you pick, from the linear Alsace Rieslings to the light and zesty Rieslings of Mosel, the subdued and elegant expressions from Austria, or the fruity and powerful wines coming out of New York and Oregon, you are sure to find a wine that will have all bases covered.
When you ask yourself what you really want in a summer white wine the answer comes down to two things, supreme drinkability (or crushability if you want to call it that) and a refreshing flavor that still has a bit of character. Well, then you need to meet our good friend Verdelho! Verdelho packs a lemon-zest punch of acidity, minerality, and even a slightly oily texture that makes it full of character. Its tres glou glou!
White wine blends
We could go on and on about white wine blends as winemakers around the world start to mix different varietals to create their ideal white wines. Sometimes they find a beautiful balance that offers a lot to different people, sometimes they end up being wild creatures that have a character all unto their own, but in every bottle, they are beautiful, delicious, and a hell of a lot of fun to seek out. These are the wines that help to expand your horizon, and make drinking wine as much of an art as making it. Tasting wines with friends we have had the pleasure of trying Riesling blended with Pinot Gris, a wine made of Marsanne blended with Roussanne and Muscat Blanc, and Cortese blended with Arneis. People are not giving white wine blends enough credit, but they make for some real hidden gems in the wine world that are accessible and delicious.
And so many others...
Hey, if you want to crush Sauvignon Blanc all summer long then you should definitely do that. Nobody is going to stop you, nor should they! You'll find a lot of awesome Sav Blancs from Sancerre to New Zealand, California, and even South Africa that are refreshing, sometimes full of fruits, and sometimes super minerally. There are hundreds of Chardonnays out there that will go well with seafood, like a Chablis, or for sitting on the beach with friends. There is no reason to skip over them, nor the likes of Pinot Griogio, or Vermentino and Pigato from Italy that seem to be made for seafood. Arneis is always sexy and awesome, while Spanish white wines from Rioja are starting to get noticed by wine hipsters too.
The secret to enjoying your white wines this summer is to be open, be happy, and chill. By chill of course we mean both relaxing with your best buds as well as keeping your wines cool in the fridge before enjoying them. These summer days can seem fleeting, so take time and enjoy every sip as it washes away the heat.