In this age of air conditioning, wine consumers may be forgiven for feeling disconnected from summer. But there are still times when the heat is inescapable and the word of the season becomes light. Not devoid in taste, but simply light in style. Oh, and cold. Nothing spells relief like c-o-n-d-e-n-s-a-t-i-o-n (hmm, not quite as catchy as Rolaids). When the condensation appears on the outside of a wine glass, you know you are in for some refreshment. Light, unoaked, fruit-forward and cold: those are all excellent things in a summer wine. And as with all Dr. Vino picks, these wines are easy on the wallet and on the palate.
Boniface, Apremont, vin de savoie 2004, $13 find this wine
From the Alpine region of Savoie comes this refreshing dry white for summer. Impress your friends with not only with a wine from a distant corner of France but also made from the obscure jacquere grape. Try it on the deck one evening with a salad while contemplating if the Alps would make a good place for your summer house given the ‘inconvenient truth’ of Al Gore’s movie.
Naia, verdejo, Rueda, 2005 $9 find this wine
There was a day that a white wine from Spain meant simply pain; but no longer. Zip right up to this crisp white that would be great for those who are looking for something a little more exotic than kiwi sauvignon blanc.
Don David, torrontes, Cafayate, 2005. $12 find this wine
The torrontes grape from Argentina is relatively unknown but you should rush to greet it to your local wine shop. This Don David captivated a group that I poured it for this spring with its unusual aromas of honeysuckle blossoms—yet it is completely dry.
La Ferme Martin, Wolffer, chardonnay, Long Island, 2004 $10 find this wine
Ah, bitter irony. As the French get maligned for not having enough English on their labels, this American producer uses French as a selling point! However, this is no California chardonnay since it is crisp and clean.
Pepiere, Muscadet, 2004 $8 find this wine
A great summer white that goes down easy—thanks not only to the aging on the lees, which gives it more heft than your typical Muscadet, but also to the gulpable price.
Domaine Sorin, Coteaux de Provence, 2005. $12 find this wine
Coteaux de Provence produces some excellent dry roses ; in fact it might be the benchmark for quality in roses. This one, light in color but with excellent notes of strawberry rose petals, has the added benefit of being organic. I found this one in a 5 liter bag-in-a-box in France—too bad we have to stick to the regular bottle size since they don’t seem to export the big format to the US.
Jean-Luc Colombo, Pioche et Cabanon Rose, Cote bleue, Coteaux d’aix en provence controlle, 2005. €7.25 at Casino hypermarche find this wine
Light in color, this is a classic rose—summer in a glass. Try this with a salade nicoise, close your eyes, and you will be transported to the Riveria. OK, if only it were that easy. Try this combo at home and it will be like being there without the jet lag. (Palm Bay Imports)
Vall dell’Acate, Il Frappato, Sicily, 2004. $14 find this wine
From the traditional blending grape, frappato, comes Sicily’s answer to Beaujolais—chill this light red and serve it on a hot summer evening.
French Rabbit, pinot noir, Languedoc, 2004 1L $10 find this wine
The box format makes this light red a great picnic wine. No corkscrew needed!
Clos de los Siete, 2004. $15 find this wine
This is a big red and so it may seem out of place on this list. But hey, sometimes it is possible to find air conditioning or you need something to stand up to the finger lickin BBQ sauce. This will do the job with its big extracted flavors—though the 15% alcohol may make you want to drink it under a deck umbrella.
Most overrated rosé: Domaine Ott, 2004. $30. find this wine Expectations were sky high along with the price tag—but the weakness of multiple bottles of this wine made me wonder if $12 is my limit for rosé.
Congratulations to Jack of Fork & Bottle who correctly guessed the price I paid for the 5L box of rosé! Five liters, 12 euros, now that’s a price per ounce that I can drink to! At about $15 a box, that works out to the equivalent of about $2.25 a regular bottle.
The dry rosé was an appellation Bergerac wine from Chateau Tiregand ( find this wine). They actually sell a similar rosé in a bottle for 4.50 euros but why pay that when you can have a bag-in-a-box for your summer time refreshment? Kept on the fridge shelf, the rosé flows fresh for several weeks. Whenever a friend or neighbor drops by–bang!–a cool glass can great them upon arrival. I wish more restaurants would offer wine-by-the-glass from a bag-in-the-box–providing that it is worthwhile wine to start–since it solves the freshness problem that plagues many restaurants.
The rose is very dark in color in part since it is from malbec and cabernet franc grapes. If rosé is a wine that straddles red and white, this one leans much more toward red. It’s got heft–maybe even a little more than needed in the middle of summer (I was caught adding an ice cube to mine for chilling and diluting purposes–but hey at least it was an Evian ice cube!).
Commanderie de Peyrassol, Coteaux de Provence, rosé, 2005 $13 Find this wine
The other day I had a rosé and it was no fun. Rosé is supposed to be fun. Besides the truncated flavor range, the price made it a further downer: $30. Yikes—talk about a buzzkill! So I was thrilled when, a few days later, I had this Peyrassol. Made by a mother-son duo in the hills of Provence, this wine from syrah, grenache and cinsault offers pale colors but an alluring blend of rose petals and strawberry aromas give way to refreshing crisp acidity. Just what you need on the deck in Provence—-in fact, a deck anywhere. Try this very food friendly with a range or foods from fish to spicy dishes. Shop around so that you don’t over-peyrassol. Importer: Neal Rosenthal.