Hey Wine Lovers
It's August and it seems the hot weather is finally here. Grab some sunscreen, sunglasses, a good book, a bottle of some cool wine and head to the pool, beach or cottage for some "Me Time".
Let's talk climate for a minute, shall we? Different wines grow better in different climates. For instance, Cabernet Sauvignon or Nebbiolo (used in Northern Italy in Barolo) both require a long hot growing season to reach their greatest potential where Riesling or Cabernet Franc can handle a shorter and cooler growing season. So not only am I talking cooler serving temperatures for wine, but cooler climate growing as well.
I love sipping a chilled white wine in the hot sun that is light, fresh and downright drinkable on its own. I don't like a big heavily oaked wine that quite frankly cries out for a meal to accompany it. I also like some lighter reds served a little cooler than usual such as Beaujolais from burgundy France or Pinot Noir from right here in Ontario.
Check out the 2015 Flat Rock Chardonnay at $18.95 from Niagara. This is a really well made wine and probably my new favourite, under $20. This wine is smooth, pleasant and a perfect balance of fresh crispness and elegance. You can toss this bottle on ice and sip away the afternoon.
Check out this Hidden Bench Estate Riesling 2015 for $23.95 from Niagara. "But Ryan, all Riesling is sweet, isn't it?" You would be 100% incorrect, a lot of the worlds best riesling is dry. Hidden Bench makes some really great wine and this Riesling will have you understanding why. Think complex fruit and minerality that will have you rethinking what Riesling is really all about.
Buckle up, you're about to hop across the Atlantic to Spain, specifically "Green Spain". In Rias Baixas (re-yass buy-shass) AKA Green Spain on the Atlantic coast you can find a great wine called Albarino. It's filled with cool fruit, minerality and saline notes (salty) from the nearby cool Atlantic Ocean. Check out Follas Novas Albrino 2015 at $19.95. Sip this bottle on ice by itself or maybe even some mid afternoon tapas like olives, cheese etc. This is a crisp refreshment in a glass!
Just a tiny further south of "Green Spain" we have the North Portugal coast where they drink "Vinho Verde". Try Quinta da Aveleda, Vinho Verde at only $11.95. This is as simple as it gets but you'll love the fresh, crispness of this wine served chilled. Think green apple, small bit of minerality and a pleasant "ahhh" finish on a hot day.
What if I were to tell you there was a red wine that you could serve chilled and drink on a hot day? Well there is one and its called, Beaujolais. This wine is made from the Gamay grape from the Beaujolais region in Burgundy France. It is a light, fruity and downright pleasant wine when served slightly chilled on a hot day. Try Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais-Villages at only $13.95! To me Beaujolais is a white wine for red drinkers and a red wine for white drinkers. While it is a red wine it straddles this fun middle and is a great transition wine for anyone who says I only drink white or red.
What can be more refreshing than a bottle of cold sparkling wine on a hot day? Nothing! Check out Segura Viudas Brut Reserva Cava at only $15.50. Only Champagne from the Champagne region in France can be called Champagne but trust me, quality exists all over the globe. I love "Cava" (spanish sparkling wine) because it is made in the same method as Champagne, with different grapes but offers crazy value. At under $16 a bottle you can literally sip 6 bottles of Cava till the cows come home vs 1 bottle of Champagne. This bottle is my personal go to.... #IceIceBaby
I'd link to finish off my summer hits with Flat Rock Pinot Noir for $20.95 from Niagara. This wine can be served slightly chilled and can be really great for those hot days in the late afternoon as the sun is starting to set. This is refreshing, pleasant and well balanced. It's light enough you can sip it solo or with some pre dinner snacks. Think earthy notes and red fruit like cherry and raspberry.
Keep it on the lighter side. Keep it on the cooler side and don't forget the sunscreen.