5 Things You Should Look For In A Summer Wine

If you’re buying a summer wine, don’t choose at random. Remember a summer wine needs to offer a lot more than a winter wine. It has to be vibrant, and flavourful and yet have a good body to it. It also has to offer a sense of refreshment and needs to be a good pick-me-up.

Above al, it has to be chillable and should be ideal in cooler temperatures so their crispness and refreshing qualities are enhanced. White wines, rosés, and sparkling wines are typically served at colder temperatures, while some light reds can be slightly chilled to enhance their fruitiness and drinkability.

When serving wines like Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, or Vinho Verde, aim for a temperature between 45°F and 50°F (7°C to 10°C). Rosés and sparkling wines like Prosecco should be served even colder, around 40°F to 45°F (4°C to 7°C). For light reds such as Grenache, a slight chill to around 55°F (13°C) can bring out their best flavours. Let’s look at a number of factors which you should look for in summer wines.

A vibrant acidity

One of the most important qualities of a great summer wine is its acidity. High-acid wines are refreshing and invigorating, making them perfect for hot weather. The acidity in wine creates a crisp, tangy sensation on the palate, which can be incredibly refreshing on a warm day. Wines with good acidity also pair well with a wide range of foods, including salads, seafood, and grilled dishes.

Sauvignon Blanc is a classic example of a high-acid wine. Known for its citrusy flavours, it often features notes of lime, green apple, and passion fruit, making it a zesty and refreshing choice. Another excellent high-acid wine is Riesling. While Riesling can range from dry to sweet, even the drier versions have a bright acidity that makes them perfect for summer. 

Light to Medium Body

During the summer, lighter wines are often more enjoyable than full-bodied ones. A light to medium-bodied wine is easier to drink in warm weather and won't feel too heavy or overwhelming. These wines typically have lower alcohol content and are often served chilled, enhancing their refreshing qualities.

Pinot Grigio is an Italian white wine that is light-bodied with crisp acidity and flavors of lemon, green apple, and minerals. It's a versatile wine that pairs well with a variety of summer dishes. Another great option is Albariño, a Spanish white wine that is light to medium-bodied with bright acidity and flavours of citrus, peach, and apricot. It's perfect for sipping on a hot day or enjoying with seafood.

Fruit-Forward Flavors

Summer wines should have vibrant, fruit-forward flavours. Look for wines with prominent notes of berries, stone fruits, and tropical fruits. Rosé wines are a popular choice for summer due to their fruit-forward profiles. They often feature flavours of strawberries, raspberries, and watermelon, making them both refreshing and enjoyable. Another option is Moscato, a sweet wine with flavors of peach, apricot, and nectarine. Its sweetness and fruity profile make it a great choice for summer desserts or as a standalone sipper.

Low to Moderate Alcohol Content

In the heat of summer, wines with lower alcohol content can be more enjoyable. High-alcohol wines can feel heavy and can lead to quicker dehydration, which is not ideal in hot weather. Look for wines with an alcohol content between 10% and 12.5% for a more refreshing experience.

Vinho Verde, a Portuguese white wine, typically has a lower alcohol content and offers light, crisp flavours with a slight effervescence. This makes it incredibly refreshing and perfect for hot days. Another example is Prosecco, an Italian sparkling wine with moderate alcohol content and flavors of green apple, pear, and white flowers. 

Versatility with Food Pairings

Summer wines should be versatile enough to pair with a wide variety of seasonal foods. From light salads and seafood to grilled vegetables and barbecue, the right wine can enhance your summer meals. Wines that have a good balance of acidity, fruitiness, and body tend to pair well with diverse dishes.

Chardonnay, especially unoaked or lightly oaked versions, can be a versatile summer wine. It offers flavors of green apple, pear, and citrus, with a balanced acidity that pairs well with seafood, chicken, and salads. Another versatile wine is Grenache, a red wine that can be enjoyed slightly chilled. It has flavours of red berries and spice, making it a good match for grilled meats and vegetables.