| Wine |

3 Perfect Wines for Summer

Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Phoenix and help keep the future of New Times free.

I don't know about you, but I was not ready to see triple digits this past weekend. 'Tis the season for Phoenicians to bemoan to arrival of the hot summer. The spring here in the Valley was glorious as usual, made even more so by watching the Midwest and Northeast get clobbered over and over again by winter storms. I take secret glee in watching the Weather Channel while sitting in my shorts and flip-flops. So, even though we have to prepare ourselves for the hard part of our year, none of that preparation includes tuning up a snow blower or buying new shovels. Like I always say, you never have to shovel heat or scrape it off your windshield.

See also: The Unsung Art of Blending Wine

You do, however, have to adjust your wine-drinking strategy. Now is the time to lay down your Cabs, Syrahs, Petit Sirahs, Malbecs -- all those hearty wines that go so well with cooler temperatures. Put them to bed for the summer months, let them age a bit, soften their tannins for next winter. You'll be glad you did.

In the meantime, dig out your summer wines, or stock up on them if you don't have any yet. What do I mean by summer wines? There are three categories of wine I always try to stick to when triple digits set in for the duration. Thirst-quenching, high acid, lighter-body wines will take the edge off even the hottest desert day this summer.

White wine is a no-brainer. I like to stick to really crisp, dry, citrus-y wines for the summer. Alsatian whites fit the bill nicely, Riesling and Pinot Blanc especially. Spanish Albarino works well also, as do many Italian offerings, pariticularly Gavi and Arneis from Piemonte. Sauvignon Blanc from pretty much anywhere is great for the heat -- it's like the vinous equivalent of lemonade, tons of lip-smacking citrus.

Bubbles, bubbles, and more bubbles! For me, few things are as enjoyable as a well-chilled bottle of sparkling wine. It's hedonistic, thirst-quenching and goes great with a surprising number of foods. Don't just wait for a celebration to pop the cork. Sparkling doesn't have to be super-spendy either. Sure, French Champagne is more a special occasion indulgence, but there are so many affordable, everyday sparklers out there. Look for domestic sparkling, Spanish Cava, Italian Prosecco, German Sekt, and French sparklers from places other than Champagne (called cremants). They are all over the place and need not break the bank.

Finally, the category that gets a lot of mileage at my house during the summer. (Who am I kidding? It gets mileage year-round, but especially for summer.) I'm talking about rosé. It fills the void left by those reds I told you to lay down. It's chilled and plenty acidic, but it's fuller than many of the whites I've mentioned, so when you're grilling steaks or heartier summer fare, rosé is a perfect go-to. Plus, it's plenty nice on its own. Rosé can be a minefield, so look for the dry ones. Ask your retailer for specific recommendations. Generally, French ones from Provence are a good bet, but I recently had an Aglianico rosé that was killer so there's room for experimentation.

These recommendations should take the edge off the Arizona heat and help you get through the summer until you can go back to watching the rest of the country get pummeled by snow next winter.

When I'm not writing this column, or reading vintage charts to my daughter, you can find men pouring wine at FnB.

Follow Chow Bella on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.