Going Beyond Beer at Summer Barbecues
Summer is a challenging season for wine drinkers. Consider why so
many people drink beer at summer events - it's refreshing and
thirst-quenching. There are a number of light, refreshing wines for
summer, however, that are appropriate for warm weather. I urge you to
look at the alcohol content for warm weather drinking and entertaining -
alcohol and sun are a bad combination for me. Also, lighter fruit
flavors and crisp acidity will delight the senses and enhance your
summer entertaining and cookouts. Here are some ideas:
This is a great wine for barbecued meat - ribs, burgers, steaks, etc.
It's a red wine that tastes like ripe blackberries bursting with fruit,
with some smoke and black pepper. Most important, the best have a bright
acidity that keeps them from being too heavy for summer.
One of the great things about Beaujolais is that it pairs with just
about any kind of food, so whether you're grilling salmon or serving
spare ribs or barbecued chicken, it works. The French serve it lightly
- Sauvignon Blanc. A favorite of mine for
summer as the grape is naturally high in acidity and has a backbone of
citrus fruit that is great on a hot summer day. Good Sauvignon Blancs
are coming from all over the world today - Chile, New Zealand, France,
and of course, Washington state!
- Vinho Verde. This
wine from Portugal is especially refreshing on sunny days; it's almost
colorless, with some spritz that adds to the fun. It is very light in
taste and alcohol, usually around nine percent. It has great acidity and
is a food-friendly wine.
- Riesling. More and more
people are discovering that Riesling isn't the sweet, simple wine of
their youth, but instead runs the gauntlet from very dry to sweet and
from minerally to fruit bomb. Germany is the classic home of Riesling -
look for Riesling Kabinett on the label.
- Rose. These
wines are getting some much-deserved attention these days. (They are not
the white zinfandels that people associated with rose because of its
pink color.) Rather they are crisp, dry and full of flavor. Many
excellent roses are being produced within Washington state, as well as
the south of France, southern Rhone, Spain and Italy.
Austria's greatest grape. This is a wine not to be missed this summer.
It has a layer of refreshing grapefruit and pepper over a light and
crisp frame. Sip alone or serve with all seafood dishes.
These wines are just a few to consider - the ultimate guideline to the best summertime wines will be your own.
Certified Wine Professional
Return to Marilee's Washington Wine page