Summer is here, and it is time get toasting! For all of you out there who shy away from the refreshment of white and rosé wines, I’ve got a few white wine myths and misconceptions to dispel. If you think that white wines are for lightweights and those who like sweet wines or you’re just interested in learning about a few great summer wines, please read on.
Dispelling the myths of summer wines
Are you guilty of saying (or thinking) any of the following?
Riesling is way too sweet for me
Once upon a time I thought all Rieslings were sweet, and then I discovered some deliciously dry ones. Rieslings can be sweet, dry, or somewhere in between the two, which makes it a great grape for discovery.
What most Rieslings typically do have, though, is crisp acidity, that element that makes your mouth water just a touch as you take a sip. That same element is what makes them an excellent thirst-quenching summer wine and also a perfect food wine. But don’t think you must drink Rieslings with food only. Rieslings are often great for drinking without food, as well.
Rosé? No way. I don’t like white Zinfandel
Rosé or pink wine has come a long way from what we saw in the 1980s in the United States. Just like not all Rieslings are sweet, pink wine does not mean sweet wine. Rosés can be bone dry or a tad sweet or absolutely sweet and fruity—but not the sweet and fruity of the past.
And rosés have definitely stepped up in stature, too, as winemakers have begun to craft gloriously layered rosés using blends of Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Malbec, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Sangiovese, Syrah, Tempranillo and, yes, Zinfandel. The color is pink because the wine does not have as much skin contact with the grapes as its red cousins.
Rosés typically pair well with food, due to their acidity, and are a perfect way to enjoy the sunset.
All Chardonnays taste the same
Chardonnay also has great variety when it comes to flavor. Some Chardonnays are buttery, oaky, creamy and toasty, and some are crisp and clean, letting the fruit run the show.
This difference is made by either letting the wine age in oak barrels or in stainless steel. Oak imparts the flavor of the wood onto the wine, whereas stainless steel lets the flavor of the grapes shine, resulting in a crisper, cleaner flavor. Some winemakers choose to age completely in one surface or another, whereas some may use a blend of wines aged both ways, resulting in a softer oak influence. For summer, especially, I prefer Chardonnays aged in stainless.
There are so many fantastic and refreshing white and rosé wines at every price point for you to enjoy at picnics and parties and even while dodging the heat by staying indoors in the air conditioning (if you’re somewhere hot like I am in Houston). Cheers to a refreshing summer!