Pairing whites with the thermometer – summer edition

The other day, I was waiting for a train or a plane, flipping through magazines at a newsstand. I picked up the August copy of Food & Wine and saw Ray Isle’s fun, simple graphic suggesting changing white wines as the weather heats up.

Since I wrote a whole book centered on pairing wine with the seasons, I applaud all outdoor-temperature related pairings, which add more of the context of consumption. Generally, as the temperature rises, I prefer wines with leaner structure and lower price tags; here’s how I sliced up this summer more or less. It feels wrong to exclude fun wines such as Muscadet, riesling (!), assyrtiko, albarino or txakolina but there’s always next year–and raising a glass to parsimony.

Heat: 60°. Chenin Blanc
Layered and rich, a good example will turn heads.
Try: Domaine Huet, any of the 2007s or 08s, which start around $25.

Heat: 70°. Godello
Excellent mineral qualities combine with richness in this grape indigenous to northern Spain.
Try: Benaza, godello, 2008, $13

Heat: 80°. Gruner Veltliner
Gruner Veltliner of Austria is clean and refreshing, the uncola. No caffeine, never had it, never will.
Value: Berger, 2009 one liter $12, now with a crown (beer) cap

Heat: 90°. Vinho verde
Vinho verde is cheap, low in alcohol and gulpable.
Try: Aveleda Fonte, 2009 at $6

Heat: 100°. beer
Beat the heat and try a local lager or a Kolsch. I had an excellent one from Captain Lawrence Brewing Co ($12.50 for a growler).

Heat: 110°. Get some AC
And sparkling water.

How have you sliced up your summer whites?

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13 Responses to “Pairing whites with the thermometer – summer edition”

  1. Twitter Comment

    @drvino love it “Heat: 110° Get some AC and sparkling water” [link to post]

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

  2. Good post. I am trying to drink some of the whites and rosés in my cellar this summer, but I also just cool my reds a few more degrees. Sometimes I just pop the bottle in ice for 20 minutes – very refreshing!

  3. This summer, I really like Huet’s Vouvray Secs; de Fieuzal Blanc; and all manner of 09 french rose. All work when it’s hot and humid but I really like a Bell’s Oberon (beer) when it’s really gross out.

  4. Your Aunt Martha had it right. Fill a glass with ice cubes, top with chilled Rose’ and enjoy summers’ heat. Refreshing, alcohol moderating, delish. Your somm buddies may flinch but hey, cool IS COOL! Millions of Aunties know a thing or two about what is what and that is where it’s at.

  5. Don’t forget Champagne and Prosecco.

  6. Hi LJH – I’m curious which 09 French rosés you’ve enjoyed? The vintage has sadly seemed overripe to me in the couple of dozen that I’ve tried.

  7. Regarding ’09 rosés: One person’s “overripe” is another person’s “bold.” Maybe I’ve just been lucky, but I’ve been happy with just about every ’09 I”ve encountered out of Tavel, Costières de Nîmes, and a whole slew of vin-de-pays-du-gard. (Haven’t run across an exceptional Bandol, though…)

    Meanwhile: At 80 degrees F, give me an ’08 Sancerre! At the end of a hot, muggy day, a bottle of Lucien Crochet was better than beer: Chock full of lime and minerals, it was positively bracing.

  8. Half white half club soda is also excellent.

  9. Having recently been in the Finger Lakes enjoying extraordinary wine, and 90 degree days? A glass, no a chalice of Swedish Hill sparkling Riesling. It’s an elixir to the Gods. Or Lucas Vignoles, Knapp Vidal Blanc, Red Newt anything…or the fabulous Finger Lakes distillery Gin with cumcumber water, air conditioning, and a “Law & Order” marathon. Or a slightly chilled Chamborcin from Missouri, or my summer favorite, a “Prosecco” slushy; Prosecco with scoop of watermelon sorbet in it.Or any Rose always…..I wont even go into my favorite chilled reds…If you see me with what looks like a popicsle? It’s most likely a Dolcetto Pop!

  10. I would skip the beer and grab a Campari + soda and a nice orange slice instead of beer as the thermometer hits 100.

  11. 90 degree heat and Vinho Verde — yes, these two things do definitely go together!! I’ve lost count of how many 95+ days with high humidity here in the South have had me drinking Vinho Verde out on my patio. And thank goodness for the low alcohol, cuz that stuff goes down as easy as you please on a hot summer day, and before you know it, the entire bottle has simply evaporated. 😉

  12. ha ha, good slice, although you missed something crucial… South African vino!

    Here’s our slice of summer whites:

    Heat: 60°. Chenin Blanc
    Slightly wooded i.e. South African Ken Forrester Chenin Blanc 2008

    Heat: 70°. Chenin Blanc
    Unwooded i.e. South African Raats Original 2009

    Heat: 80°. Sauvignon Blanc
    Aged i.e. Bouchard Finlayson SB 2008

    Heat: 90°. Sauvignon Blanc
    Constantia Buitenverwachting SB 2009

    Heat: 100°. beer
    Agree with you there 🙂

    Heat: 110°. Get some AC


  13. […] […]


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