Some wines are better than others for drinking in warm weather, like rose and viognier. Read on to learn more about some lesser-known varietals that are perfect for sipping in the sun and what to eat with them.
Summer is all about relaxation and there’s no better way to relax than with a glass of wine. But the warm weather probably has you looking past that heavy cabernet sauvignon and reaching for something a bit more refreshing. Try one (or all) of these summer wines at your next outdoor event.
If your only memory of pink wine is of a syrupy sweet white zinfandel, it’s time to give rose a try. Although roses can lean toward sweet, the most popular are dry and crisp. Rose is made from having only short contact with the grape skins to give it that distinctive blush color. Many different grapes can be used to make rose, like pinot noir, syrah and grenache, giving each a different flavor profile. The only way to figure out which one is your favorite is to start sipping!
Rose is a very versatile food wine and pairs well with all things barbecue, from grilled food to the quintessential picnic side dishes. Serve it chilled for a wine that will take you from the afternoon all the way through dinner.
Throw some burgers on the grill to pair with a rose >>
For an aromatic and fruit-forward wine, viognier is the perfect choice. These wines are mostly floral and dry and can be enjoyed while young (the wine, not the person). Because these grapes must get very ripe to make a good vintage, the alcohol content tends to lean toward the higher side, which could be good news for some of us after a long day at work. Citrus, apricots, peaches and spice are characteristics of this summery wine.
Viognier pairs well with spicy foods. Think curry, sushi or Mexican food for a perfect flavor combination.
Heat things up with a curry dish and cool off with viognier >>
Originating in the Loire Valley of France, these grapes are now planted worldwide and used to produce many types of wine. A very versatile grape, you’ll find chenin blanc used in both in dry sparkling wines and sweet dessert wines. Often used for blending, they can also stand alone. Chenin blanc is often described as tasting like apple, tropical fruits, peaches, minerals and honey.
Because chenin blanc can range from dry to sweet, it pairs well with many foods. Chenin blanc would be a good match for a creamy soup or a tangy vinaigrette.
Make asparagus with citrus vinaigrette to pair with chenin blanc >>
These grapes are native to Portugal, specifically the island of Madeira, and are mainly used in fortified wines. However, verdelho has more recently been used to make white table wines, which are gaining popularity. These fruity wines are easy to drink and often have a budget-friendly price point, making them the top choice over expensive chardonnays.
This wine would be perfect for a happy hour sip on its own, but also pairs well with food. Pour a glass of verdelho to enjoy with a seafood appetizer, like oysters, or a spicy Asian dish.
Try a Thai-style spicy salmon salad with a glass of verdelho >>
Semillon is a Bordeaux grape with low acid. Although you can get 100 percent semillon, chances are you’ll find this dry wine blended with some sauvignon blanc or chardonnay, often with characteristics of lemon, grass and herbs. For something on the sweeter side, semillon is used in the production of the dessert wine sauternes.
Cheese and semillon is a match made in heaven, particularly semi-hard cheeses. Try an assortment of cheeses like asiago, cheddar, fontina and comte to taste how each brings out different characteristics of the wine.