Instead, stick with wines that are
crisp, fruity and effervescent.
After a few sips, you might even
find you are chilling down, just
like the wine.
Pretty in Pink
Rosé wine and summer are a perfect
pair. They match up like blue cheese
and figs, or prosciutto and melon.
Throw in a baguette and a blanket
and you’ve got the makings of a
fantastic summer picnic, which is
the best backdrop for drinking rosé.
Over the past few years, as high-quality pink wines have become
more widely available in the U.S.,
rosé has become the quintessential
wine of summer. Not sticky sweet
white zinfandel, but lively, refreshing dry rosés with mouth-watering
acidity, often from the south of
France or northern Spain, but also
from U.S. winemakers.
Rosés are made with red wine
grapes but have shorter contact
with the grape skins, giving them
their luscious color, which can range
from light salmon to vibrant cherry.
From cider to limoncello,
shake up your next
summer cocktail party
with our behind-the-bar
These are fun, simple wines, meant
for sharing with friends at picnics
and backyard barbecues, so dropping more than $20 on a bottle goes
against the laid-back spirit of rosé.
A Spanish rosada like Muga or a delicate rosé from Bandol in the south
of France are good bets.
“Lambrusco, more than any other
wine, is fun to drink,” says William
Mattiello, the chef and owner of the
Manhattan restaurant Via Emilia,
which specializes in food and wine
from the Emilia Romagna region of
Italy, the home of lambrusco. “You
pop it open, and it makes you happy.”
If you associate lambrusco with
Riunite, the semisweet red wine
that was all the rage in the ’70s,
it’s time to give it another shot;
lambrusco is back, popping up on
the wine lists of some sophisticated
restaurants. The lambruscos being
imported today, however, are fruity
and dry and as much like the commercial juice as a pair of boot-leg
jeans resembles bell bottoms.
Lambrusco, often a deep purple,
makes a fine red wine choice in
summer because it is served lightly
chilled and has a hint of effervescence.
Boutique lambrusco can still be hard
to find in the U.S., but its availability
is increasing. Via Emilia showcases
about 15 varieties on its wine list, ranging in price from $27 to $35, and urban
wine shops are also starting to carry it.
The Iberian Peninsula has plenty
of scorching summer days, so it’s
no surprise that a wine from the
northwestern corner of Spain—
albariño—tastes particularly refreshing in July. Albariño comes from
the Rías Baixas region of Spain, a
coastal area known for its fishing villages, so expect a vibrant white wine
that harmonizes pleasantly with seafood. This aromatic dry wine, paired
with a citrus fish dish, could almost
make you fall in love with a muggy
summer evening—or at least make
you dislike it a little less. Nora Rías
Baixas is a crisp, enjoyable version
that is easy to find, for about $15.
Fresh and Fizzy
From the northwest of Portugal comes vinho
verde, a crisp light wine that’s perky enough to
give your taste buds a kick even on the most humid summer day. Vinho verde literally translates
as “green wine,” but it’s actually a dry, white,
slightly effervescent wine that sparkles on the
tongue. The reference to green is for youth,
not color, because vinho verdes are meant to
be drunk soon after their release. Red vinho
verdes also exist, but red versions are hard to
find outside of Portugal.
With the zip of lemon and apples and a slight
fizz that adds an extra snap, white, unoaked,
light-bodied vinho verde is a great choice to
help offset summer’s sweltering temperatures.
Plus, this light-hearted wine is reasonably
priced. You can find drinkable versions like Ouro
Verde vinho verde for as low as $7.