Wines to drink while it’s hot outside.
It’s time to start reading articles on the most excellent summer drinks and fabulous white wines as the sundial reaches the summer solstice.
Who wants to wear a heavy red during a heat wave? That’s about as comfy as ordering a thick boeuf bourguignon or creamy hot cocoa outside in 30 °C weather. Both are top-notch, but perhaps later, like October.
However, I prefer to avoid using too many whites in the summer and red in the winter. It needn’t be that strict; some wines are better suited to the seasons. Wine is a multifaceted beverage.
Consider the wine-producing locations with warmer climates, such as southern Italy, Greece, Spain, South Africa, etc. All types of wines, including sweet dessert wines like Port, Marsala from Sicily, and Madeira from the Portuguese island of the same name, are produced in these warm temperature regions.
But it’s how these societies use their wines to complement their cuisine, way of life, climate, and festive events. Whether you want to call it etiquette, a habit, or a fundamental rule of life, there is a unique reference for what to drink, when and why.
Wines to Try this Summer
The list above is not exhaustive; it is only a brief sampling of situations where people who live in warm, or even excruciatingly hot, climates manage to cultivate, produce, and consume wines of all varieties without difficulty.
Take a hint from our friends who live in warm climates and drink wine. Consider following their example with some fantastic wines frequently providing exceptional value. Extra points if you plan a themed supper with local food.
Syrah is grown in France’s Rhône Valley and further south in Provence. Both these areas are hawt. At least in the dead heat of summer, where sweltering is a charitable descriptor, oppressive is more accurate.
Provence adds Syrah to its light and bright rosés for thirst-quenching refreshment to pair with moules et frites, salad Niçoise, and goat cheeses.
In the northern part of the Rhône Valley, Syrah is kept single varietal (or sometimes a splash of Viognier is added) for a peppery, smoky red, which is terrific with lamb, steak au poivre, or frisée and lardon salad. In the south, where you find Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Syrah is added to a blend for juicy and robust reds and pairs nicely with grilled steak, short ribs, and hearty vegetables like mushrooms and eggplant.
Believe it or not, Mexico makes wine – and some excellent bottles. Grape vines were first brought to Mexico by the Spanish in the 1600s, and now nearly 8,000 acres are under vine, mainly in the mountainous northern regions of the country (the flatlands are too hot to grow vines successfully.) Cab Sauv is among the most planted, typically rich, ripe, and fruit-forward in style. Cabs don’t need much of an introduction to wine lovers, but sip this big boy with grilled duck, smoked brisket, and Moroccan tagines with loads of fresh herbs.
This one’s a curve ball, but I like keeping you on your toes. Germany is the world’s third largest producer of Pinot Noir (called Spätburgunder – or Late Burgundy).
But wait – isn’t Germany cold?!
Yes, Germany is a cool climate. But in the Pflalz, a stunning southern wine region with a microclimate so sunny, dry, and warm it grows both fig and lemon trees, makes top quality – even collectable from some producers – Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc and, of course, Riesling. It’s also one of the world’s leading regions for white asparagus.