Oh sweet, sweet summertime – it’s my favorite time of year. Summer means warm days, long hours of sunshine, birds chirping outside my window early in the morning, and the sounds of children playing in the street. We revel in backyard barbeques, picnics in the park, and time around the pool.
And with the warmer days comes a shift to lighter wines. Here are seven you’ll want to try this summer:
Kendall Jackson Wines
I love the consistency of Kendall Jackson wines and have long been a fan of their Reserve Chardonnay. But in summer, I turn to their sauvignon blanc and rosé wines.
I first discovered these two favorites at the Kendall Jackson Wine Estate and Gardens in Sonoma County. At this majestic property, visitors can enjoy food and wine pairing experiences, cooking classes, tours of the magical sensory gardens, and of course, wine tasting.
Kendall Jackson – 2019 Vintner’s Reserve Sauvignon Blanc
This pale golden delight displays an aromatic bouquet of crisp lime, melon, and ripe pear, followed by flavors of fresh fig, herbs, and luscious honeysuckle. A dry, medium-bodied sauvignon blanc, it pairs nicely with a charcuterie board of ripe cheese, herbaceous crackers, prosciutto, and marcona almonds.
Kendall Jackson – 2019 Rosé of Pinot Noir Panorama Vineyard
This Jackson Estate wine comes from the Arroyo Seco AVA in Monterey County. Pale orange in color, this rosé truly represents a summertime wine. Aromas of watermelon and ripe apricot give way to flavors of wild strawberries and pink grapefruit, layered with white floral notes.
A crisp wine with bright acidity, it’s best served lightly chilled. It pairs well with a charcuterie platter, grilled asparagus, and cobb salad.
Brian Carter Cellars – 2018 Abracadabra Rosé
Ever since his arrival on the Washington wine scene in 1980, Brian Carter has been on the cutting edge of winemaking. His winery earned the 2015 Washington Winery of the Year award from Wine Press Northwest.
Carter is known for his blends, but his 2019 Abracadabra Rosé, made mostly from the sangiovese grape, is perfect for summer sipping. This beautiful pale pink wine has won several competitions, including Best of Show across all classes and Best of Show in rosé competitions.
Aromas of strawberries abound in this wine with subtle layers of peaches and orange blossoms. And I love its acidity and refreshing fruit. Enjoy it with summer salads, BBQ salmon, or simply as a cocktail by the pool.
Silvara Cellars – 2018 Vintner’s Reserve White Blend
Gary Seidler, owner and winemaker at Silvara Cellars, sources his grapes from the finest vineyards in Eastern Washington. His stunning winery just outside of Leavenworth, Washington, overlooks the Wenatchee River.
The expansive outdoor patio makes a perfect place to laze away a Saturday afternoon. But it’s Seidler’s wines that keep his customers coming back.
The 2018 Vintner’s Reserve White Blend is a perfect example of Seidler’s wine making talent. A blend of 71% pinot grigio and 29% riesling, this soft-bodied wine displays a gentle floral bouquet. Vanilla, papaya and a hint of wet stone on the palate provide some depth and complexity. Grilled fish and pasta salad pair well with this delicious nectar.
Irvine & Roberts Vineyards – 2017 Estate Pinot Noir
Summertime isn’t just about whites and rosés. There’s always room for a lighter red at the backyard BBQ party. Irvine and Robert’s 2017 Estate Pinot Noir is my new favorite.
Known for its pinot noirs and chardonnays, this family-owned winery is located on a gorgeous property in Oregon’s Rogue Valley. With expansive views of surrounding vineyards and rolling hills, the wine tasting room is well worth a visit.
With just five pinot noirs, three chardonnays, and one rosé of pinot noir on their menu, this winery’s focus is tight and sharp. And that focus is evident in the 2017 Estate Pinot Noir.
The Rogue Valley terroir comes through in the aroma with earthy, floral, fruity notes. In this ripe, red, fruit-forward wine, you can taste black currents on the palate. Paired with grilled sausage and risotto, the Pinot was a big hit at a recent poolside dinner.
Wines from Europe
We’ve just covered some of my favorite summertime wines from California, Oregon, and Washington. But if you’re craving a taste of Europe, you’ll enjoy these two wines from Portugal and Spain.
Bodegas Casado Morales – 2018 Rioja Blanco Viura
To prepare for a recent International Food Wine Travel Writers Association webinar on Spain’s Rioja wine region, I picked up a bottle of this delicious non-vintage white wine from Total Wine. Sourced from 60-year-old vines, this medium-bodied wine surprised me with how refreshing and delicious it is.
Viura is the most important white wine grape in the Rioja wine region, according to Wine Folly. This wine and the informative webinar convinced me I want to visit Rioja and taste more of the region’s wines.
The color is light gold, like wildflower honey. The wine has a sharp earthiness in its bouquet, mild fruit flavors of subtle pear and citrus on the palate, and a long, soft finish.
Espiral – Vinho Verde
This non-vintage white can be purchased at Trader Joe’s. A cheerful, translucid, lemon-yellow white wine, Vinho Verde means “green wine.” A common white in Portugal, it’s named after the northwest region where it’s produced. The “green” in the name refers to the youthful state in which the wine is released, not the color of the wine.
Espiral is a refreshing, crisp, medium-dry white wine, best served well chilled. It works well as an aperitif and pairs well with fish dishes and salads.
Are you still craving more of Europe? You’ll love this article on Italian Wines for Summer Sipping. Enjoy those “lazy-hazy-crazy” days of summer!