There’s really no better way to stay cool in the summertime than with crisp, refreshing wines. Fortunately for us in the Test Kitchen, this category of wines is extremely versatile, pairing well with a variety of different flavors and dishes. Just in time for your next barbecue, al fresco dinner party, or date night on the patio, we’ve got tips on which summer wines to sip on through the warmer months and the foods to match.
If you haven’t tried Greek wines yet, you’re missing out. One of our favorites is Assyrtiko, a dry white from the island of Santorini, where volcanic ash soils give the wine a lovely minerality. Its classically high acidity is matched with notes of lemon, blossom, and even subtle saltiness—so when it comes to pairings, try matching with foods with a similar flavor profile. A lemony feta dip, kebabs with tangy yogurt sauce, or fish in Avgolemono sauce would all be perfect with Assyrtiko.
Dry sparkling summer wines are no-brainers for warm weather pairings—the bubbles are not only refreshing but also ideal for matching with food (the effervescence acts as a palate cleanser, lifting richer flavor off the palate). For a value-minded alternative to Champagne, try Spanish Cava. Made using the Champagne method, typical flavors of this wine include citrus, apple blossom, pear, and almond. Try serving it with seafood paella, fried fish, and sheep’s milk cheeses like Manchego.
Who doesn’t love rosé in the summertime? Pale pink versions from Provence have become quite popular among summer wines, but in the Test Kitchen, we love the depth of the lesser-known Tavel rosé from France’s Southern Rhône Valley. This wine tends to be very dry, with an eye-catching, deep-pink color and more body and structure than other rosés. These qualities are also what make Tavel rosé so food-friendly—it can stand up to richer bites, like creamy goat cheese, as well as spicy flavors and even hearty charred meats. In other words, this might just be the perfect summer barbecue wine.
White wine not your thing? Never fear—Lambrusco is here. This sparkling red wine from Emilia-Romagna in Northern Italy is always served chilled, making it a perfect addition to our summer wines list (though in the Test Kitchen, we love it any time of year). Our favorite styles balance mouthwatering acidity with a subtle hint of sweetness, as well as flavors of cherries, dark berries, and violets. For pairings, the options are endless. You could try a “what grows together, goes together” approach and match with balsamic vinegar or Parmigiano-Reggiano, or enjoy it alongside a few rich, spicy cured meats. (Hint: We also love it with pizza.)
One of our favorite fortified wines is Sherry. Though the beverage can come in a wide range of styles and sweetness levels, for summer, we love Fino Sherry, a pale, light-bodied, bone-dry variety that’s best served very cold. When it comes to food pairings, you can’t find a more perfect match for your favorite Spanish tapas. Notes of almonds, yeast, and brine in the wine pair beautifully with olives, croquettes, cured ham, Marcona almonds, salty potato chips… we could go on and on.
Story contributed by Plated Senior Recipe Editor Sara Heegaard.
This article is intended for individuals 21-years-old and over. Please drink responsibly.
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