Favorite Summer Wine

By Ryan Snyder

Category: Winegeeks Opinions

When I looked on the weather forecast map and noticed that the weather hit 100°F all over the U.S., I decided it was time to focus on the refreshing qualities of wine. I asked all of the Winegeeks.com contributors to pitch in a paragraph or two about their favorite summer wine. As you can see, we cover quite the gamut here, and each of these favorites are guaranteed to wash your summer blues away!

What is your favorite summer wine?

E. S. Brown, Mosel Valley Riesling

Rieslings are a diverse bunch, no pun intended. They range from crunchy and cracklingly dry to decadent and heavenly sweet, with a broad spectrum in between. While I would be the first to recommend Rieslings from Austria to Australia, when pressed as to what my favorite summer wine is I found myself drifting back to the beauty that is a Mosel Valley Riesling.

Why? In a word - intensity. They have lots of everything: fruit, acid, residual sugar, flowers, peaches, apples, minerals, character. I always find that returning to a Mosel Riesling after other wines is for me like cleaning one's glasses and seeing for the first time, or like removing the opaque shower curtain from in front of a window. It is what the sauce tasted like before you ran it through the cheese cloth. Wild and uncompromising, yet charming and infinitely beautiful. All this and a sense of terroir that rivals any wine on earth. I can think of no better treat on a patio in late summer than a few good friends and a bottle of fruity, crisp and delicious Kabinett. Light, low in alcohol and altogether delicious.

Matthew Citriglia: Prosecco

My favorite summer wine is Prosecco. If the heat has you down and your appetite is waning; an ice cold glass of Prosecco cools the body, refreshes the palate, and stimulates the appetite. Its soft bubbles, tart juicy fruit and moderate to low alcohol make it a natural quaffer on those 95°F days with 100% Midwest humidity. But don't reach for just any Prosecco! The sudden popularity of the wine as has allowed many inexpensive bland wines into the market. Great Prosecco is bursting with flavor and drinks like soda pop with a kick. The best wines come from either the town of Conegliano or Valdobbiadene in Veneto, Italy. They will be a few dollars more and decisively more complicated to pronounce but the quality and depth of flavor from these two towns' is well worth the additional cost and verbal difficulty. In fact, practice it now and don't forget to say "please."

Prosecco di Conegliano (proh-SAKE-coh dee coh-nell-YAH-noh)
Prosecco di Valdobbiadene (proh-SAKE-coh dee val-doh-bee-AHD-day-nay)

Colleen Costello: Rosé

When the Ohio heat makes the idea of red wine oppressive, rosés can offer red fruits while being light and refreshing. For the past 2 summers, I've preferred the beautiful rosés from Spain and Australia that are made from Grenache and Cabernet. These varietals have a lot of structure and character, producing rosés that are much more interesting and complex than most that I've had. Thankfully, most of these wines aren't over-oaked, which is surprising considering the liberal use of oak on red wines in both of those countries. So, I enjoy a deep, garnet colored rosé that delivers ripe strawberry and raspberry, has a medium body and not too much acid, with oak buried in the background.

Scott Frank: Rosé

I've got a crush on blush. Not that white or red would mind, but truth be told they just don't push my button quite the way rosé does during the hottest months. Maybe it's the coy nature of its charms, the way it whispers its secrets in your ear. It never shouts, it's never impolite. Maybe it's the way it teases with glimpses of the wine it would be if it were allowed to grow up. This androgynous Lolita of wines, it's the perfect summer affair. For me, not a week passes all summer long without a chance meeting or calculated rendezvous with this lovely little flower.

Dana Pickell: Grüner Veltliner

I adore Grüner Veltliner this time of year. When the weather soars to 100°F, I love the pale-green, shiny hue that Gruner Veltliner throws from the glass, as if to say "Drink me, I’m fresh". Maybe it's the way the varietal so perfectly reflects the slatey minerality of the loess and gneiss soils. Or perhaps it's Grüner Veltliner's fresh pepperiness that satisfies my need for a bright, quenching wine during the summer months. And it could even be the stunning photographs of the Danube River flowing through the terraced vineyards in the Wachau region of Austria... photos that remind of the time and place that Grüner Veltliner makes its mark. Ahh, terroir. And the longevity of these wine? Don't get me started. It's honest, smart wine. Kind of like the teacher's pet in 5th grade. And did I mention that Grüner Veltliner is sassy? Nowadays you can find it in liter-sized bottles, topped with screwcaps, or even playfully with bottle caps. Seek out a bottle of Hirsch's entry-level juice... tell me that label doesn’t make you giggle.

Ryan Snyder: Cava

When it comes to summer wines, I have a few prerequisites for a wine of choice. First of all, it has to be cheap. I want to be able to pop a cork or three without worrying about the price, and it's okay if I only enjoy one glass to relax or invite the entire neighborhood over for an impromptu porch party. Second, it has to be refreshing, uncomplicated and something I can sip on the front porch without having to think about the flavor profile. Third, it has to work with barbecued goodies. Let's face it – the grill is part of what summer is all about. And finally, I don't want a cork that requires a utensil to open: it's screwcap, Champagne cork or bust. A number of candidates vied for the title of my favorite summer wine, but in the end, the Spanish bubbly Cava gets my vote. It's refreshing, great with shrimp on the barbie, easy to sip while leaning back in the porch chair or the hammock in the back lawn, and you can find many worthy examples for under $15.