It seems with the turn in the weather, a lot of people are up in arms about what they “should” be drinking. Lately, a lot of my customers have been asking about summer time wine etiquette, and I'm a firm believer in just drinking what you like. Rules are made to be broken. However, I can understand that as the weather heats up, the thought of drinking a full bodied, super Tuscan may be just as unbearable as the L train in July (or for that matter, August as well).
If you like that big robust red, then for heaven's sake don't be afraid to pull it out, even if it is August. However, if you want a couple of pointers on what to look for in a good summer red, I've taken the liberty to list a few basics you can take with you to your local wine shop.
1. Summer reds tend to be a little bit more fruit forward with less tannins. Ask your local wine spot for something light bodied and easy drinking. If you're unsure, go for a red from a New World country, like the USA or New Zealand. These wines tend to be made with more juice and use steal barrels which keep the wines super fresh and zingy.
2. Don't be afraid of rosé. Rose wine gets a bad rap but for spring and summer it's the perfect balance for antipasti, salads, and seafood. It tends to have more body than a white but less body than a red with strawberry fruit notes and flowery aromas. What's not pretty about pink?
3. Lastly, in a last ditch effort, or if you just want to pick something up and go, Pinot Noir is my no fail wine of choice. I'm not going to lie, I really love this grape, even if it is renown for it's high maintenance, (as I think about it more, maybe I like it because I can identify with it). That aside though, from the hills of Burgundy to those in California, well made pinot noirs share a sweet fruitiness with delicate tannins that in my opinion go unmatched against any other summer time beverage.
So I'll leave you with a couple of my own suggestions for summer reds from around the world. I hope you enjoy.
1. Anne Amie 2005 Pinot Noir: This a great light bodied, easy drinking wine, that still has a lot of earthy, mushroom notes to it that can compliment smokey, and charred flavors of summer foods or also stand alone. “The best thing about this wine is that it speaks to the fifth sense umami,” Rob Allen, New York Wine Co.
3. Ata Rangi 2005 Pinot Noir: This is a no frills pinot noir with clean, crisp and vibrant fruit. Plain and simple good even if it isn't summer.
5. Braida 2006 Brachetto d'Aqui: Fermentation takes place in stainless-steel tanks and is stopped in order to leave some sweetness in the sparkling wine. At just 5.5% alcohol, Brachetto d'Aqui makes for the perfect aperitif or end to a meal.