This summer is going to be unlike any other; we’re not only seeing life through a new lens, we’re making up for a summer that was less-than-ideal just 12 months ago due to COVID-19. As we embrace the warm weather and all its memory-making fun with open arms (or at least elbow bumps), here are six great ways to celebrate the summertime season and the perfect wines to pair with each occasion.
Whether you’re laying out a snacking spread of charcuterie, cheese, and fruit, or doing a more substantial al fresco meal, nothing goes better with sunshine than sparkling wine. J Vineyards Blanc de Blancs 2014 is an especially ideal picnic wine. Made from 100 percent chardonnay, this traditional method sparkling wine shows lovely aromas of orchard fruits and citrus, with zesty acidity and bright, mousse-y bubbles.
The northern French region of Alsace is heavily influenced by its time under German rule, and its history is reflected in its wines. Riesling, in particular, is a prominent and beloved variety in the vineyards. Hugel’s dry riesling has ripe peach and elegant floral notes but is balanced with hints of smoke and mouth-watering acidity. It’s quenchable, refreshing, and is exactly what you want to sip on while enjoying a picnic under the sun.
Whether you’re grilling steaks or giving vegetables the charcoal treatment, you’ll want a wine that stands up to the smoky, sultry notes of the BBQ. L’Aventure Winery’s Estate Cuvée is a robust red that pairs with the savory flavors brought out by the grill. The syrah in the cuvée pairs with the spicy, peppery notes in BBQ rubs, while cabernet and petit verdot add structure and dark fruits to the blend.
Italian wines, with their trademark high acidity, are great wine pairings for BBQs, working to cut the fat in grilled meats. Sangiovese in particular, with its spices and pop of cherry fruit, pairs especially well with rubs and seasonings, but its medium body is not too weighty for sweltering summer days. Isole e Olena is a sangiovese specialist, and this is one of the best examples of Chianti Classico you can find.
“Refreshing” is the name of the game when it comes to poolside wines, and the perfect choice for hot days is rosé. This rosé, made from pinot noir, has all the delicious strawberry and floral notes you want in a rosé, but its crisp minerality and slightly savory character from pinot noir’s inherent earthiness make this a standout wine for any time, any place.
If you’re looking for something to sip while you’re deep into your novel — a wine as scintillating as the plot — chardonnay from Oregon is your go-to. It’s a grape that’s recently gained renewed attention in the Pacific Northwest, and delicious versions of the popular grape variety abound. Evening Land Vineyards Chardonnay has elegant notes of lemon, white flower, and granny smith apple, plus a fresh acidity to give it a bit of raciness.
This fresh and lively gruner veltliner is the perfect reward once you reach the summit — but if you want to stop halfway through and just appreciate all the nature around you, you’ll be happy to have this bottle from one of Austria’s leading biodynamic winemakers in your backpack. Orchard and citrus fruits, as well as a mouthwatering minerality come together seamlessly in this wine. Plus, the screw-top bottle is ideal for being on the go.
These highly portable rosé wines will exceed every expectation you have about canned wine. Strawberry and cherry fruit meet a savory minerality, while the bubbles add a festive tongue-tingling touch. At only 11% ABV, these lower-alcohol rosés will keep you going. Lubanzi is one of the only B-Corp certified wineries in the world, meaning mindful environmental and social practices are a big part of how they make wine.
For a different take on syrah, turn to this full-bodied shiraz from Australia. This robust red shines with flavors and aromas of black pepper, plum, and blueberry. Juicy and structured, it feels as cozy as the bonfire itself. It’s food-friendly but great on its own.
If your bonfire calls for s’mores, it’s time to pull out the dessert wine. Hall’s sauvignon blanc grapes spend extended time on the vine which allows the noble rot “botrytis” to set in. Through this process, sugars concentrate, resulting in grapes with small but sweet amounts of juice. In fact, Botrytis is behind the greatest sweet wines in the world, such as Sauternes and Tokaj. With notes of honey, fig, and vanilla, this dessert wine is a sweet finish to your night.
There’s nothing more exhilarating than watching a lightning show — nature’s own fireworks — and you want something in your wine glass with equal amounts of energy. Grenache specialist Angela Osborn’s A Tribute to Grace is devoted to this fruit-forward and expressive varietal, and this particular wine’s light body deceives how concentrated and luscious the raspberry and berry fruit flavors are on the palate.
Watch the bubbles explode in this traditional method sparkling wine from England. The country is becoming a new hotspot for bubbly and with one sip of this cuvée of chardonnay, pinot noir, and pinot meunier, you’ll understand why. With lovely brioche, peach, and floral notes, plus fun mousse-y bubbles, it’s as refreshing as the air after the rain.