Best wines for summer

Summer: hair gets lighter, skin gets darker, water gets warmer, music gets louder, and days get longer. And don’t forget, it’s also the perfect time to enjoy wine. So, what makes a perfect summer wine? What are the top varieties to select this season and what food should you pair them with?

Characteristics of summer wine

While certain heartier drops of red are best consumed during winter months, when summer comes around you’ll likely find your taste in wine lightening up. This phenomenon refers to the concept of seasonal wine: it’s a question of what pairs well with food and also what feels right to the drinker according to the surrounding temperature and weather.

As the weather heats up you’ll likely enjoy fresher, more casual meals like salads and grills – thing to share with family and friends as the festive season comes to the fore. You will need the appropriate types of wine to tune in with the flavours of your food.

You’ll want a refreshing wine – nothing that weighs you down in any way. This generally means light and acidic whites and light and fruity reds. The prime characteristics of a perfect summer wine are: crisp, acidic, refreshing, light, fruity and best served chilled.

Sauvignon Blanc and Sauvignon blends 

You can’t go past the summer staple that is Sauvignon Blanc. Sauvignon Semillon Blanc is always worth a revisit, particularly on a balmy afternoon. Try varieties/blends from South Africa for an assuredly quality drop.

Pair with: goats cheese, asparagus, grilled fish and other seafood, dishes displaying flavours of coriander and dill.

Pinot Grigio

Pinot Grigio is a very popular warm-weather wine. The best examples of this variety are crisp, relatively simple versions originating from northern Italy. Some regular offerings of Pinot Grigio can be a little insipid, so it’s best to go for the styles that stay true to form from where this grape is grown best.

Pair with: antipasto, summer risottos and light seafood pastas, fresh tomato based dishes.

Light Rose

This is a favourite when it comes to the ubiquitous summer BBQ. Rose is very versatile and a classic people pleaser. It’s light and fruity and gets most people’s seal of approval in a group gathering. Look for lighter styles from Provence and the South of France/Rioja and Navarra regions of Spain for the best examples.

Pair with: Provençal style dishes, grilled tuna, nicoise salad, mezze platters.

Dry Riesling

Crisp, fresh flavours and a modest level of alcohol hit the spot on a hot summer’s day. If you aren’t looking for anything too sweet and cloying – never the best when the sun is pelting down – then seek out some great Australian varieties such as Dry Rieslings from the Clare Valley.

Pair with: Smoked salmon, smoked chicken, crab, trout, lightly spiced southeast Asian food.

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