Wine Chat: Summer Wine - A Bottle Full of Sunshine

JoAnn LoGiurato
JoAnn LoGiurato is the founder of Dancing on Grapes, specializing in private wine tastings. Her passion is wine pairings with a focus on events tailored to women. Here are her picks for great Summer drinking with a buying guide for specific labels. 

The sun’s out, there’s music in the air, and you’re ready to throw an outdoor party.

You might be thinking, “Should I serve Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay or Cabernet to my friends?”

Well, why not drink something different? There are so many great wines that work with summer foods; some are just perfect for sitting by the pool or sipping at the beach. Others are perfect with seasonal picnic and barbeque foods — grilled meats, fish salads and veggies. 

Here is a list of sassy sippers that will get you out of your wine doldrums: 

Refreshing Summer Whites 

If you like Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc, try the ever hip and peppery, Austrian Grüner Veltliner, fresh and lively Albariño from Spain or the refreshing, light bodied Verdicchio from Italy. These all go great with light seafood salads and shellfish. 

If Chardonnay is what you crave, try the full-bodied Friulano from the Italian Alps, or aromatic and lush Viognier—awesome with roasted lobster and grilled Asian-spiced chicken with tropical fruit salsa. 

White Wines Buying Guide:

Grooner Gruner Veltliner $11

Martin Codax Albarino   $13

DaSole Verdicchio $14

Bastianich Friulano $15

Cono Sur Viognier $10 

Cool Summer Reds: 

All year-round, I like my red wines slightly chilled, but in summer, I find them a bit more thirst-quenching when they are cool. Refrigerate the wine, 20-30 minutes before you are ready to serve it. 

If you think you can’t get through summer without a big, red wine, try fruity California Red Zinfandel or an Italian Primitivo (they’re ancestors) with barbequed red meats and grilled sausages, you’ll be in for a treat.  

On the lighter side, if you like Pinot Noir, try juicy, berry driven, Beaujolais from Burgundy. This wine can transition between white and red wine. It goes great with thicker cuts of fish like swordfish and tuna and grilled meats like chicken and lamb. Another favorite of mine is Italian Barbera, with flavors reminiscent of fresh cherry-pie. It’s great with grilled veggies, cold meats and pasta salads. 

Summer Reds Buying Guide:

Four Vines Red Zinfandel $12

Primaterra Primitivo $9

Michele Chiarlo Barbera D’Asti  $14

Louis Latour Les Charmes, Morgon Beaujolais $16 

Think Pink 

And don’t forget to drink pink—Dry Rosé that is…a juicy, refreshing alternative to white and red, that works great with so many of summers favorite foods. Rosé is so misunderstood. They are not all sweet. As a matter of fact, most Rosé is dry. Try Rosé from France, especially the ones from Provence, Loire or Rhone Valley. They are dry-style, mouth-watering and delicious!

Rosé Buying Guide

Bastianich Rosado $15

Coppola Rose Pinot Noir $18

Les Heretiers Rose d’Anjou  $9 

Fizzy Treats 

Looking for a wine to compliment that Sunday afternoon brunch? I love a light-bodied, crisp Prosecco or low alcohol, slightly sweet Moscato D’Asti, both from Italy. These wines make excellent casual sippers, and compliment a wide range of light brunch and lunch foods. 

Sparkling Wine Buying Guide:

Zardetto Prosecco Brut $13

Michele Chiarlo Moscato d’ Asti (half bottle) $13