Wines To Explore This Summer - Drink Outside The Lines

It's always a pleasure to seek out fine wines and the perfect remote places to enjoy them. We do both at Latitude 38 and take our outdoor wine-ing seriously. Always pampered, always luxury. Enjoy this write up by Charles D. Springfield. 

 

Forget what people say about winter being "the most wonderful time of the year." At least in my humble opinion, summer time is so exciting because it means letting go, being introduced to new things and being open to new things that can forever change your life.

Therefore, enhance those new summer adventures by incorporating some tried and true favorite wines into your routine as well as adding some "outside of the norm" wines into your summer existence.

Here are some of my personal recommendations, from me to you, to integrate into these glorious wine days of summer!

WHITE WINE – VINHO VERDE

With the current weather conditions heating up, white wines are extremely hot right now. This is the perfect time to dig into cold, crisp, sweet or light white wines when the weather gets a little too hot, steamy and sticky.

Vinho Verde is a Portuguese wine from the Minho region in the far north of Portugal. Portugal is home to around five hundred indigenous grape varietals. Vinho Verde, however, isn’t a grape varietal. The name literally means “green wine,” but translates to a “young wine,” as opposed to a wine that has matured with age. It may be red, white or rosé, and it is meant to be consumed within a year or so of bottling. This is an ideal wine for the rest of summer, as it’s light, fresh and low in alcohol. It can be enjoyed on its own or with light dishes like salads, seafood and soft cheeses.

BLANC DE NOIR – THE OTHER WHITE WINE

Last summer I started to see for the first time – or actually pay attention to – really lovely blanc de noir wines from Germany and Italy. A blanc de noir (white from black) wine is a white wine made from black, red or purple grapes. The skins of the “black” grapes are removed immediately and only the juice or must is used to make the wine. It’s very common in the production of Champagne, but also makes very lovely still wines as in the case of the German Pinot Noirs, also known as Spatburgunder.

These wines tend to more on the medium bodied side for white wines, as it relates to mouth feel or texture of the wine. They also seem to be a little more fruit forward, giving you hints of sweet plum and peach skin. With this added body and fruity quality, this style of wine can also be enjoyed by themselves or paired with slightly richer dishes like BBQ Salmon, blue cheese and grilled chicken.

Blanc de noir wines are not to be confused with Rosé wines. As you will learn if you continue reading!

ROSÉ WINE

Rosé wine is a lot more diverse and complex than a lot of people think. A rosé wine (rosé as its called in France, as rosado in Spanish-speaking countries or rosato in Italy) is similar to a blanc de noir except the skins and juice ferment together for a limited time (a few hours) only allowing the skins to bleed a paler red color into the wine. This gives you the best of both worlds in terms of red and white wines. It has the light, freshness of a white wine, but features faint hints of red and/or pink fruit flavors.

French rosé from the Cote De Provence have been causing quite the stir in New York City for several years. I can understand why. But there are very lovely rosé wines from all over the world like the New York Finger Lakes, Austria, Italy, Spain and South America that are just as complex, delicious and nuances as the crowd favorites.

Also, something to know: Just because a rosé is on the darker side, doesn't mean it's sweet. Color doesn't equate to sweetness. Most rosés are dry (little or no residual sugar in the wine). Most "blush wines" or typical "desert wines" in the rosé form are sweet. Those sweeter wines work well with people who respond to sweeter things and they work also well when paired with spicy dishes.

SPARKLING WINES – White

Sparkling wine is just plain festive! It makes any season more enjoyable and really helps us celebrate summer...or any season. In my book, you can’t go wrong with a Champagne, Prosecco, Cava (sparkling wine from Spain), Franciacorta (sparkling wine from Italy more similar in style to Champagne), Moscato D’Asti and more — depending on what flavors are most appealing to you. Whatever you choose, just make sure it’s cold. Sparkling wines are most enjoyable when they are chilled to about 45 degrees Fahrenheit.

SPARKLING WINES – Red

This is what scares people a little bit – the fear of the unknown. Sparkling wines do come in red forms and are ideal for summer. One of the most common red sparkling wines is Lambrusco. This is an Italian sparkling wine that comes in a red (yes, red), rose or white form using the Lambrusco grape from Emilia-Romagna and one in Lombardy. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, sweet Lambrusco was one of the biggest selling import wine in the United States. It is very fun to drink in the summer or special occasions with hard and soft cheeses and cured meats.

Another fun option is a Sparkling Shiraz from Australia. This is another interesting sparkling wine that happens to be a red, sparkling wine. It is made in the same way as Champagne – that is, bottle fermented, aged on lees, and left to develop in the bottle. It uses the Shiraz/Syrah grape in Australia. This wine features a very different set of aromas from the previous wines like the smell of blackcurrants, blackberries, chocolate, cherries, strawberries and more. It’s frothy and has a purple hue. The palate features powerful fruit. It’s a dry sparkling, but it is fruit forward with nice acidity and tannin structure. On the finish, you’ll find hints of berries, mushroom, spice, cherries and definitely pepper. Perfect for anything on the babie like shrimp (sorry, I couldn't resist).

Last but not least, an ideal summer red - sparkling or still - is Pinot Noir. Sparkling Pinot Noir wines from Burgundy are not all too common. But if you can get your hands on some, you are in for a treat. You get the classic tart cherry, strawberry and pomegranate notes with carbonation and a tinge of pleasant earthiness. Still Pinot Noir wine should be served slightly chilled, around 57-60 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal enjoyment, while the sparking versions should be ice cold.

Originally posted June 17th, 2015 by Charles D. Springfield for Thirstie.com