These Are the 10 Best Summer Wines You Need to Try
As the temperature outdoors rises, our attention turns to carefree days spent relaxing and enjoying the sun. The best summer wines are the ideal accompaniment to warm weather activities with friends and family.
The arrival of summer often marks an end to the bold and heavy red wines of winter. In their place, we welcome lighter, more refreshing wines. This article will introduce you to the best summer wines to complement the sweltering summer weather.
Characteristics of the Best Summer Wines
When we think of the characteristics of the best summer wines, light, usually white wines are what come to mind. Heavy red wines such as Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon lose their appeal in hot weather. Ultimately, the best summer wines for you come down to personal taste. Nevertheless, here are a few characteristics to look for when choosing a summer wine.
High Acidity and Low Body
When you crave lightness and refreshment in hot weather, a wine that prominently features acidity over other characteristics such as oak is ideal. Wines light in body with high acidity are tart and refreshing, unlike bold and heavy wines that will weigh you down as much as the summer humidity.
Alcohol by Volume (ABV)
Pay attention to the wine’s ABV label to determine its alcohol content. The ABV tells you a lot more than how quickly you’ll get tipsy. A high ABV means the grapes were riper when picked, creating a richer wine. A low ABV signals a lighter body. The ideal summer wine should have an ABV of less than 12.5%.
Tannins add texture to wine. Bold, heavy wines are high in tannins coating your mouth with an astringent, sticky or rough feel, exactly the opposite of what you want in a summer wine. In contrast, wines low in tannins have a smoother, less abrasive texture, making them more pleasing to the palate on hot summer days.
Ranging from bone dry to delectably sweet, both sparkling and still, Riesling is one of the most versatile wines available. Crisp acidity with notes of pear, apricot and peach characterize the first summer wine on our list.
Riesling is a fresh wine with lower ABV levels than most comparable wines, making it a refreshing treat on hot summer days. A combination of acidity and sugar levels allows it to stay low in alcohol. German riesling contains higher sugar levels than other wines, up to 9 grams per liter. Unfermented sugar lowers the alcohol level, resulting in riesling’s lower ABV.
Unlike most white wines fermented in oak barrels, giving them a rich buttery taste, Riesling is usually fermented in stainless steel drums. Riesling flavors change depending on the climate and terroir of the region where it’s made.
One of the best things about Riesling is you can pair it with almost any dish, including Thai, pizza, sushi or empanadas. Its high acidity also allows it to cleanse your palate, which is great if you’ll be eating various dishes during a meal.
Hailing from Rias Baixas in Spain’s Galicia region, Albariño is a tantalizingly bright, zesty, and crisp summer wine. Albariño vines thrive in the wet, rainy Northwest corner of Spain. The aromatic Albariño grape produces a pale golden yellow colored wine.
You’ll taste notes of grapefruit and fresh pineapple with an undercurrent of seashell minerality when enjoying a glass of Albariño. Enjoying Albariño’s aromatics on a warm day is a treat for the senses with whiffs of lime and tangerine mingled with peaches, guava, apricots, and a faint almost scent. Albariño is dry to the palate, and the wine’s hallmark acidity magnifies its flavors and aromas.
Like Riesling, Albariño cleanses the palate, making it a great match for whatever cuisine you’re enjoying. Albariño is a dry and refreshing white wine synonymous with summer. If you’re looking for a wine that you can enjoy at summer pool parties, picnics, barbeques and beyond, consider uncorking this refreshingly delicious summer wine.
There aren’t many wines that say summer quite like a glass of pale pink rosé on a warm summer evening. Rosé is a dry, crisp, fragrant, and refreshing wine that has a taste similar to white sauvignon blanc but with a warmer note of passion fruit and pink grapefruit.
Its crisp, light texture makes rosé a refreshing summer indulgence worth enjoying.
Many wines improve with age, but that’s not the case with rosé. You want to buy a bottle within a year or two of its production because rosé loses its crispness and acidity as it ages. Keep in mind that a fruity rosé isn’t always sweet. Instead, fruity rosés may be dry, which adds to its crispiness.
Various rosés make the perfect summer wine. Sparkling rosé is a great choice if you’re in the mood for a refreshing bubbly drink. Sangiovese rosé recalls Mediterranean meals by the sea with its vibrant peach, melon and rose notes.
If you’re looking for a versatile rosé, Provence rosé’s crips and refreshing nature make it a great choice for a summer night. Pinot noir rosé and Grenache rosé are excellent options for summer get-togethers.
4. Sauvignon Blanc
Originating in France’s Bordeaux region from the sauvignon blanc grape, you’ll occasionally hear this wine referred to as Fumé Blanc. Sauvignon Blanc is grown worldwide, including North America, South Africa, Brazil, New Zealand, France, Chile and Australia.
Sauvignon blanc is a dry, crisp wine that goes well with warm summer nights. There are various sauvignon blancs with distinct tastes. You’ll find some sauvignon blancs have a sweet tropical fruit flavor while others are grassy or tart. The wine sometimes has a mineral character.
The sauvignon blancs produced in cooler climates such as France and New Zealand tend to have intense grassy notes. If you prefer your summer wines fruity, California’s warm weather produces a fruitier and more cheerful expression.
Like many wines on our list, sauvignon blanc has high acidity making it easy to pair with a range of dishes such as oysters, fish, sushi, green-leaf salads, almost all types of cheeses especially goat’s milk cheeses and Asian dishes. If you’re looking for an excellent wine to cool down with on a hot summer day, don’t pass up sauvignon blanc.
You may have heard chardonnay referred to as “the red of white wines” because of its complexity. Chardonnay is probably the most popular white wine in the world, with good reason. Few grapes produce the buttery creaminess of the chardonnay.
Although this may not sound like what you’d want to drink on a warm summer night, some chardonnays go great with a summer breeze. There are so many types of chardonnays it’s hard to know what you’re going to get when you uncork the bottle.
It’s important to pay attention to texture when choosing a chardonnay for summer weather. Unoaked chardonnays are the best choice for beating the summer heat. The best summer wine, chardonnay, comes from Burgundy, France. You’ll know you’ve found the right bottle if you see the Chablis label.
These chardonnays have tropical and citrus fruit flavors with crisp acidity. California produces some luscious chardonnays, but they’re too full and rich to be refreshing in summer weather. Pair a chardonnay with seafood or a salad for a warm weather treat.
6. Lambrusco di Sorbara
Red wine and summer don’t usually go together, but if you pass up Lambrusco di Sorbara, you’ll miss out on one of the best summer wines available. One of Italy’s oldest wines, Lambrusco is the perfect mix of acidity and subtle sweetness. This light and fizzy red wine makes a great addition to steamy summer evenings.
The Lambrusco grape grows in Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region, although you’ll also find it in Lombardy. Each region produces wines with distinct flavors that vary in body and sweetness. Its styles range from rosy-hued floral wines to deep purple, tannic and bold wines. When served slightly chilled, Lambrusco is very refreshing on a hot day.
Sipping Lambrusco is an excellent way to cleanse the palate at a summer get-together between bites of different foods. The wine is sweet but not too sweet, pairing well with all summer foods, whether salty, smoky or spy. If you’re looking to add some variety to your summer wine list, give Lambrusco a try.
7. Pinot Noir
Pinot Noir is a red wine worth enjoying year-round. Unlike many red wines that are too tannic and heavy to be refreshing in the summer months, cool-climate pinot noirs are an excellent summer weather choice. Pinot noirs originating in cooler climates tend to be fruit-driving. Light body wines are a perfect choice to pair with barbecued meats.
Grown worldwide, Oregon, California and New Zealand are primarily known for their pinot noir grapes. While the pinot noir is as complex as bigger wines such as cabernet sauvignon, it has a fraction of the body with a light and pleasant mouthfeel, making it an excellent addition to most summer meals.
Serve pinot noir chilled for a refreshing warm weather drink. If you’re looking for a red wine to enjoy this summer, pinot noir should definitely be on your list.
Another red wine alternative to the white wines that typically dominate during the summer months, Frappato is a red Sicilian wine grape variety featuring a distinct fruity aroma. Frappato is low in tannins, making it a red wine that goes down smoothly in the warm summer months. Served slightly chilled, it’s an excellent accompaniment to a summer picnic or barbeque.
Frappato is brimming with various flavors and aromas, including red raspberry and wild strawberry with an incredibly smooth texture. The wine pairs well with different seafood dishes, cheeses, cold cuts, and pasta, making it an excellent alternative to white wines.
Frappato is an elegant and sophisticated summer wine option if you want to cool down with red wine this summer.
Natives of Italy’s Lombardy region, moscato grapes grow next to the Po River in this gorgeous region. Cold-fermentation in stainless tanks with the grape skins having brief contact with the skin is how this pale yellow wine is made. The process results in a wine with a fruity, almost flowery aroma with peach, sage, and apricot flavors.
You can pair moscato with various summer foods. It goes well with ripe summer fruits such as peaches and apricots and also pairs well with appetizers, main dishes, and desserts. Moscato’s sweetness makes it great for spicy, bitter, salty and other highly aromatic foods.
If you’re having a summer party, Moscat is a great option for mixing in sangrias, fruity wine cocktails, and punches. Its low 7.5 percent alcohol content makes it incredibly refreshing on hot summer days. If you enjoy light, sweet wines, be sure to include moscato on your best summer wines list.
Originating in France’s Bordeaux region, Semillon is a hidden jewel among the best summer wines. Most typically found as an addition to French white wine blends, the Semillon grape makes an enjoyable wine when bottled alone. It’s best known for the varieties produced in Australia’s Barossa Valley and Hunter Valley.
With medium to light acidity and great body, Semillon’s sweetness varies, and left on the vine creates an excellent base for dessert wines. Unoaked Semillon produces the most summer-friendly variety of this white wine.
Semillon features notes of oyster shell, honey, minerals and occasionally freshly cut grass—Semillon pairs well with most dishes, especially seafood. Be sure not to overlook Semillon on those sultry summer nights.
There aren’t many things better than a refreshing glass of wine on a hot and muggy day. The best summer wines are lighter in body and have higher acidity than wines we drink at other times of the year.
Although we typically think summer white wines make the best summer wines, several red wines are excellent choices for the summer. Now that you know what the best summer wines are, it’s time to relax on your porch or backyard and slowly sip one of these exquisite summer wines.