Summer began last night—time for crisp whites and dry rosés.
Happy news: Summertime wine typically costs less than winter pours.
Winter reds and oaked whites spend time in expensive oak barrels and in bottle before release. Time and oak is money.
Summer whites and rosés typically go from stainless steel to bottle to wine shop in a year. Quick product turnaround is money.
Given economics, why not make it your summertime mission to explore strange new wines, to seek out new grapes and new regions, to boldly go where you have not gone before? Leave the galaxy of sauv blanc, un-oaked chard, pinot grigio/gris, moscato, white zin. Beam up to new adventures.
Suggestions for your summer wine star trek:
• Albariño (Spain) and alvarinho (Portugal) are the same grapes grown on opposite banks of the Minho River in northwest Spain and northern Portugal. Crisp, good acidity with hints of salt from the Atlantic; wonderful with seafood, shellfish, spicy Asian, and as summer solo sippers. Grape also is used in vinho verde, another summer winner.
• Rueda verdejo from Spain delivers crisp fruit and superb acidity. Sub for sauv blanc.
• Provence rosé. Almost all wine made in Provence in southern France (Marseille, Saint-Tropez) is very light-colored rosé; grenache, cinsault, mourvédre are main grapes. With Provence, you are into serious wine, and it is worth it.
Tasting notes (if shop does not have ask for similar bottle or buy online):
• Bodega Catena Zapata Alamos Torrontés 2015: Torrontés is signature Argentine white grape; emphatic fruitiness, peach, citrus, acidity. $9
• Torres Verdeo Verdejo 2015: Crisp, correct expression of verdejo; tropical fruit, nuttiness. $9-11
• Ciù Ciù Oris Falerio 2015: Winery named for sound locomotive makes (choo-choo). Crisp, good body, acidity. Blend of 50% oris, 30% trebianno, 20% pecorino—no country has more “who knew” grapes than Italy. $10
• Adegas Valminõr Serra da Estrela Albariño 2015: Crisp, nice minerality, honeysuckle. $13
• Quinta da Lixa Pouco-Comum Alvarinho Vinho Regional Minho 2015: Ripe, full bodied, food friendly, superb value. $13
• Château Minuty Côtes de Provence ‘M de Minuty’ Rosé 2016: Welcome to the world of serious rosé. $15
• Château d’Esclans Côtes de Provence Rock Angel Rosé 2015: Elegant, sophisticated; splurge. $31
Last round: A hangover is the wrath of grapes.
Email Gus at firstname.lastname@example.org. Facebook: Gus Clemens on Wine. Twitter: @gusclemens.