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In Good Taste

Summer Sips - Best Wines for Hot Weather

Summer Sips - Best Wines for Hot Weather

White & Rosé Wines Make a Splash This Summer

As the year grows older, the air gets hot and heavy, the trees green and lush, and the days long and sunny. Rainy May turns to sunny July, and our cravings change from the substantial foods of winter to the fresh foods of summer. We more or less abandon the heavier, full-bodied red wines better suited to a day snuggled up by the fire and start looking for more refreshing summer wines to quench our thirst. 

The best summer sips feature high acidity, a light-to-medium body, and a dry flavor leading to a crisp finish. These sipping wines are made for a day by the pool or a picnic in the park. Heavy reds are ruled out since they lose their distinct robust qualities when cooled. Instead, light-bodied whites and ros​​és take center stage. These summer wines refresh the palate, taste better when chilled, and compliment delicious fresh summer foods. 

Dry or sweet, whites are a hot weather classic, and “pink wine” increases in popularity every single year. The best summer wine is enjoyed by all, from wine enthusiasts studying for their sommelier exams to novices looking for a refreshing glass to enjoy after a long day in the sun. 

Keep reading to find your new hot weather favorites and learn why you should trade your Cabernet Sauvignon for a Vermentino and your Sangiovese for a rosé.

Summer Sips - White and Rose Wine for Hot Weather Drinking

Get The Most Out Of Your Summer Sippers

A warm glass of red wine on a hot summer day is like wearing a wool sweater over your bathing suit – just plain wrong. Instead, tart whites and sweet pinks refresh our palate and cool our bodies. 

To get the best out of your summer sippers, you have two serving tips to consider: the temperature at which the wine is served and the glassware you use to drink it.

Temperature

The trick to the perfect summer sipper is a slight chill. Every wine tastes best at a certain temperature. Heavy red wines are meant to be served at 60–70 degrees, while whites and rosés should be anywhere from 43–55 degrees.

Chilling these wines improves the flavor as well as the experience. White and rosé wines both tend to have higher acidity and more delicate fruit flavors. When lighter wines are chilled, it enhances the subtle tasting notes while softening any boozy or bitter notes. A chilled wine also helps lower our body temperature and invigorates us on hot summer days.  

Glassware

To keep your wine at the perfect temperature, consider the glass in which it is served. Stemmed glassware keeps warm hands off cold wines and helps maintain the right temperature for longer. 

Keep these serving tips in mind as we explore some of the best wines for summer.

White Wines in Mini Bottles

White

Reputation vs Reality

White wine has a bit of a reputation. People new to the wine world might think white wine falls into one of three categories: large and oaky, tart and boozy, or sweet and cloying. Think of the large bottles of Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio that taste like a boozy juice box and leave you with a pounding headache the next morning. 

White wine's bad reputation is not only unjust but also increasingly false! White wines are as likely to be light and delicate as they are tart and sugary. Consumers are increasingly demanding quality from their wines, whether they’re white, yellow, red, purple, pink, or any of the colors in between. This demand has resulted in some truly incredible white wines.

In the past, white wine was considered an aperitif, best consumed with appetizers before the main meal. People drank it before dinner, between courses, or with dessert, but red wine was still served with the main courses. These days, white wines hold their own in almost any setting.

Choosing Your White Wine

It's easy to say, “I know I like Pinot Grigio'' or “I always enjoy a Chardonnay,'' but the variety of wine on the market makes these generalized statements silly. A Chardonnay can be sweet and oaky or dry and mineral. Pinot Grigio can taste like lemons and apples or limes and pears. 

One of the truisms of white wine's reputation is that whites do tend to taste sweeter. This is partly because white wines do not age as long as reds but also because they do not have any of the bitterness that results from contact with grape skins. White wines do not have tannins to counteract the sweetness, so they taste sweeter than reds. 

On a wine sweetness chart, even the driest white wine can have fruity tasting notes. Dry white wine types like Pinot Grigio, Albarino, and Chablis could all taste “sweet,” depending on the year, terroir, winemaker, etc. At the same time, notoriously sweet wine like Gewürztraminer can taste spicy and bitter.

The answer to whether you prefer sweet or dry is in the bottle itself. You have to try a few to discover your favorites! White wines complement all sorts of dishes, especially those that contain vegetables, poultry, and fish. The best sweet white wine is served in place of a dessert, with flavors of apricot jam or golden raisins.

As our meals became simpler, white wine has found a new place on the table. The delicate flavors, bright acidity, and refreshing qualities of whites make them an essential summer sipper.

Rose Wine Paired with Popcorn

Rosé

Drink Pink This Summer

We can trace the roots of rosé back to Ancient Greece, where diluting red wine was considered civilized. The Greeks blended red and white for a lighter vintage, still more red than its modern-day pink relations. From Greece, the Phocaeans brought grapevines to Marseille in France. The pleasantly pink French rosés that resulted were soon the talk of the Mediterranean. Today, the best rosé wine still comes from France. 

From France, rosé made its way around the world. In America, rosé is the fastest-expanding wine category, growing almost 50% in 2017. Like white wine, rosé used to have a reputation for being too sweet. But sweet pink rosé wines are only a tiny fraction of the pink wines available today. 

What is rosé wine, and why are we all so obsessed?

What was once a by-product of red wine has become a millennial sensation. The “pink drink” even has its own holiday at the beginning of the summer on June 12th.

In the past, rosé was made by blending red and white, but that style is currently forbidden in most wine-growing regions. The notable exception is Champagne, where winemakers craft a rosé Champagne from a blend of red and white wines. Instead, modern rosés are made using one of two processes: saignee or maceration.

Saignee, from the French “bleeding,” is the process of removing juice from red grapes to improve the color and concentration of red wine. The resulting juice is then vinified into a rosé. French rosé wine from the Côtes de Provence is still required to contain 20% Saignee wine. 

Maceration is the same process that creates red wines. Grapes are left in contact with the skins for a certain amount of time to give the wine color and tannin before the juice is drained off and vinified. 

For rosé, the maceration process is short, ranging from a few hours to several days (vs weeks or months for a red). Rosés made by maceration are also called intentional rosés. Intentional rosé grapes are grown to make rosé wines and are often picked early to preserve their acidity and bright fruit flavors.

A Note About Orange Wine

The difference between an orange wine and a rosé is in the grape. Orange wines are made using white wine grapes with a prolonged maceration period, the same way rosé is made from contact with red grape skins. Italian Ramato wines are a good example of orange wines. They are made using grapes with slightly pink skins (such as Pinot Grigio), which results in an orangey-pink wine with a delicate flavor. 

Lounge at the Beach with White or Rose Wines

Summer Sippers for Every Hot Weather Event

Whites and rosés have more differences than the hue of the liquid that shines through their bottles. Each has a unique place in the wine world and pairs well with certain summer activities. 

Our recommendations are as follows:

White for Beach Days

As a summer sipper, white wine is made for beach days. Its refreshing acidity and bright finish complement beach-side dinners of salty fish, grilled vegetables, and crisp salads. 

If you were to take a bottle of white to the beach, a Sauvignon Blanc would be the perfect pairing for a platter of bell peppers, goat cheese, and hummus. A classic Vermentino might serve if your beach bag were to contain fresh or pickled peaches, sugar snap peas, burrata, or a watermelon, feta, and arugula salad.

Rosé for Pool Parties

Unpretentious, accessible, and delicious, rosé wine increases in popularity with every year that passes. The evolution of premium canned wines has only fueled the rosé craze by making rosé more accessible, convenient, and portable than ever before. This makes rosé the perfect summer sipper to take to a pool party, picnic, or backyard wedding.

Rosé wine pairings are similar to white, but the subtle sweetness and flavors of strawberries, flowers, citrus, and melon make its pool party pairings unique. Sip rosé with fruit salad, Caprese, or watermelon and balsamic for a meal that tastes undeniably like summer.

Pouring Pink/Rose Wine

Light-Bodied Reds for Barbeques

Light-bodied reds, like Barbera and Pinot Noir, are a great alternative during the hot summer months. Light-bodied reds can take a chill and are best served at 55–64 degrees. Throwing your bottle in the fridge an hour before dinner ensures these wines are right in the sweet spot for your next backyard barbeque.

The best wine to drink with grilled or fried chicken, or a nice piece of brie, is a light, juicy Pinot Noir. Or, if your table is set with peppered salami, fresh cherries, or portabella burgers, a chillable Barbera will do the trick. Light-bodied reds are everything their heavy-bodied cousins are not: refreshing and bright, with high acidity and fresh fruit flavors.

Pairing with the Seasons

The best wines for hot weather are the ones that complement your activities. Drink pink on fun-fueled days surrounded by friends, white to cut through the salt and sweat of scorching summer days, and light reds surrounded by family, BBQ smoke, and sun. Try all manner of hot weather sippers to refresh and keep cool all summer long.

Summer Picks

Our Favorites

Warm, sunny days require wines that are crisp and oh-so refreshing. With two delicious rosés and a delightful Sauvignon Blanc, our Summer Picks are the perfect addition to your sunshine-filled adventures.

$61.97

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California Wine Mixer Top 3

Our Favorites

Californian wine is a state of mind. The Cabernet Sauvignon, Rosé, and Red Wine from our California Wine Mixer bundle can transport your state of mind (and palate) all the way to The Golden State.

$77.97

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International Whites

Our Favorites

Experience a world-class wine tour for your tastebuds from the comfort of home. This bundle features incredible selections from France and Italy that will have you ready to grab your passport and hop a plane.

$67.97

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Vine Voyage Top 3

Our Favorites

The Vine Voyage bundle will remind you why France and Italy are two of the most well-known, wine-producing countries in the world. Take your senses to the European countryside with Montepulciano, Rosé of Sangiovese, and Nerello Cappuccio.

$58.97

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Light Reds

Our Favorites

Like the infectious laugh of a best friend, these wines will warm your soul and lighten your mood. Our Light Reds bundle with a Grenache, Coteaux Borguignons AOC, and Pinot Noir are sure to be your new wine besties!

$79.97

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Big Reds

Our Favorites

Big. Bold. Unapologetic. The rich, unmistakable flavors of the Cabernet Sauvignon, Barbera, and Bordeaux Rouge in our Big Reds collection are perfect for the unwavering palate that demands something more.

$81.97

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Rosé of Sangiovese

Andiamo

Sangiovese can be found in both the Chianti and Montalcino regions of Tuscany (it all sounds so romantic, right?) and is known for producing classic medium-bodied wines. A rosé wine is actually made from red grapes (like the Sangiovese) that haven’t fully ripened by harvesting time. Try as these grapes might, they ended up a little too tart and a little too light in color for a typical red; but that’s where the Rosé of Sangiovese comes to play. Crisp, fruit-forward, and easy-to-drink—it’s everything you want in your bottle of rosé and more.

$19.99

Sauvignon Blanc

La Pluma

We couldn’t have rosé and Pinot Grigio at the La Pluma party without inviting its ring leader, Sauvignon Blanc. If Pinot Grigio is the dry, acidic friend of the group and rosé is the always sweet and highly affable one, Sauvignon Blanc exists between the two to create true Zen. An interesting and addictive blend of grapefruits and herbs set this white wine apart and make it incredibly difficult to resist, especially when the temperature is high and your desire for a refreshment is higher. La Pluma Sauvignon Blanc is the perfect poolside or beach companion; just be sure to bring a few bottles because your friends will definitely want to partake, and we don’t blame them!

$23.99

Barbera

Wild Child

The perfect pizza wine. Barbera is a simple wine that’s not only easy for winemakers to make, but easier to drink. It’s low in alcohol and an Italian red wine we implore you try chilled because it’s truly *chef’s kiss*. Classic Barberas are fruity, medium bodied and offer the perfect hint of tartness. It’s also the best of both worlds in terms of light and heavy red wines. Let’s say you’re having a friend over who always prefers a cab, but you’re more of a Pinot Noir kinda gal. Order a pizza and open the Barbera for a perfect middle ground kind of evening. After all, the combo of good red wine and pizza is the great equalizer.

$24.99

Montepulciano

Andiamo

Big, bold, and full of flavor—exactly what you’d expect an Italian wine to be! This classic Italian grape produces some of Italy’s most straightforward red wines and is often used as a blending grape. Not here, though. We let Montepulciano do the heavy lifting as a heavy red wine and shine on its own. If you enjoy the smell of leather bound books, nibbling on dried fruit, and complementary notes of bitter, dark chocolate and sweet plums, you will love this Italian wine. No need to pair it with any certain dish—Montepulciano tastes great with all the Italian classics.

$20.99

Cabernet Sauvignon

Unprecedented

If Pinot Noir is the light and juicy queen of reds, Cabernet Sauvignon is her bolder, heavier, meatier sister. Often referred to as just “cab,” it’s the wine of France’s Bordeaux and California’s Napa Valley. There’s nothing subtle about Cabernet Sauvignon—high in alcohol, full-bodied and robust, you can usually find this red served with a ribeye, New York Strip, or filet mignon (re: carnivores love cab). Classic cabs usually offer tasting notes of chocolate, coffee, and darker fruits like prunes and plums. The Unprecedented Cabernet Sauvignon is as classic as they come, and we highly recommend letting the bottle sit and mellow until your next red meat and potatoes dinner!

$34.99

Rosé

La Pluma

While it’s the unofficial official wine of summer and warm weather situations, La Pluma’s Rosé is one you can drink year-round, no matter the occasion. All rosé wine is derived from red grapes that didn’t quite make the cut, but the result exceeds expectations in terms of highly-sippable, easy-drinking wine. This La Pluma Rosé is as light as its feathery namesake and is best served extremely chilled for an extremely chill afternoon of nothing but vibes. And maybe a few snacks.

$17.99

Pinot Grigio

La Pluma

If you’re looking for more zest in your life, a bottle of Pinot Grigio can provide that. We included a classic Pinot Grigio in the La Pluma collection because we’re all about light and easy here, which is exactly what this grape from Italy is. It has that dry sense of humor that seems so effortless with a punchy acidity to keep you on your toes, all while offering notes of lemon, limes, green apples, and honeysuckle. Long story short; when it’s been a heavy day and your soul is seeking light things only, you’ll be happy to have this bottle on hand.

$19.99

Pinot Noir

Unprecedented

We couldn’t create the In Good Taste Unprecedented collection without the Golden Retriever of wines: Pinot Noir. Pinot is likable, it’s easy, and its natural state of being is simply charming. It’s an incredibly easy red wine to love, which is why so many people do. The grape itself is from the Burgundy region of France, but has made its way to California, Oregon, Australia, Italy, Argentina, and Germany since. Our Pinot Noir has no surprise twists—it’s a classic light red with just the right amount of sweetness to keep you coming back for another glass (or two).

$25.99

Coteaux Bourguignons

Passport

The Burgundy region of France is home to their best Pinot Noirs, but we took the grapes into our own hands to create something extra special with our Coteaux Bourguignons. It’s a blend of Pinot Noir and Gamay, which results in a French red that’s light in body but full in flavor. The ripest blueberries and freshest herbs can be easily detected in this French burgundy blend. May we suggest pairing it with some creamy brie and freshly baked bread? It’s a oui-ning combo.

$25.99

Nerello Cappuccio

Wild Child

This is not your average Italian red. Nerello Cappuccio is a dark-skinned grape variety from Sicily, the Mount Etna region to be exact (yes, the volcano). Although its color is vibrant, you might be surprised to know that it’s a much softer red than it looks to be. Our Nerello Cappuccio is cherry-forward, with other tasting notes of vanilla, light coffee (like your favorite breakfast blend), and minerals. The delicate tannins in this Sicilian wine will surprise and delight you and tastes exceptionally good paired with margherita pizza or arancini balls (drool).

$17.99

Chardonnay

Unprecedented

Ah, Chardonnay. The buttery, oaky, rich white wine that is polarizing in its very nature. This is the type of wine you either love or hate; it’s rare to find someone who lies somewhere in the middle. If you’re in the “love” category, our classic Unprecedented California Chardonnay will surely become a new favorite. Its buttery vanilla nature pairs extremely well with like minded buttery, creamy foods such as brie cheese, lobster, crab cakes, crème brûlée, squash, corn, and mushrooms.

$33.00

Verdicchio

Andiamo

A little sweet. A little tart. A little salty? You truly get it all with this white Italian wine. If you’re into that biting acidity, Verdicchio will probably be high on your list of most-loved wines from our Andiamo collection. Citrus fruits like mandarin, lemon, and grapefruit are at the forefront, but what really sets this Italian wine apart is its distinct notes of almond. While our Verdicchio can start out tasting a bit bitter, the more you sip, the sweeter it becomes. In fact, we suggest approaching it as an aperitif (Italian for an alcoholic drink sipped before a meal to stimulate the appetite) to experience its full effect.

$23.99

Red Wine

Unprecedented

We’d love to introduce you to our old friend: Unprecedented Red Wine. She’s a 2019 blend that has been with us through it all and grown to be one of our more popular wines. She’s a mix of all the best Italian grapes: Barbera, Sangiovese, and Tempranillo with a splash of Mourvèdre and a few others. They’re all hanging out, having one big, juicy, delicious party! Tasting notes include a touch of spice, a hint of leather, and some of the best juicy fruits, including blackberries. She truly gets along with just about everybody!

$24.99

Côtes du Rhône White

Passport

This was one of our first French wines to join the Passport collection and one sip will explain why. Some background on the Rhône Valley in France: While this region is known for its dark, juicy reds, a very small amount of special white wines are made in the Rhône Valley. Our Côtes du Rhône is packed with French-perfected, floral flavor and Old-World charm. Its natural tang paired with the weighty Marsanne grape and aromatic Roussanne grape results in a crisp, savory sip that’ll transport you to a sunbathing chair by the Rhône itself.

$23.99

Bordeaux Rouge

Passport

When you picture medieval folk sitting around a feast with goblets of wine, chances are they were drinking Bordeaux. This wine has been made in France since forever and is arguably the most classic French wine out there. Bordeaux is known for its full body, smoky notes, and rich, oaky taste. If you love cabs, chances are you will adore Bordeaux. For our Passport wines, we had to include this classic French red for you to sip and enjoy to your heart’s content. Best savored over a rich meal like lamb ragu, ratatouille, or BBQ.

$21.99

Ventoux Rosé

Passport

You probably know that the Tour de France is held on Ventoux Mountain in France, but did you know that the same area is known for its high-altitude rosé? This is the kind of quintessential French rosé that you don’t need to spin your wheels over—it’s simply delicious, crisp, and perfect for warm weather. Despite its delicate, pale pink color, each sip is lush with flavor, from tropical passionfruit and zesty citrus to refreshing melon. This has the potential to be your new summer go-to, so we’d suggest stocking up.

$21.99

Tempranillo

Wild Child

Say “¡Hola!” to Spain’s main grape: Tempranillo. This red grape put Rioja wine on the map and is un vino tinto classico. It’s best compared to a classic cab, but with a bit more unique magic that’s hard to put your finger on, which is why it’s a part of our Wild Child line. This medium- to full-bodied wine with its relatively higher tannins usually offers complex notes of cherry, fig, cedar, tobacco, and dill. This is the type of red wine you want to buy and pour for a Latin-infused meal; think carne asada, tacos al carbon, or just perfectly cooked steak fajita meat.

$27.99

Grenache

La Pluma

We knew the only red in the La Pluma collection had to be exceptionally good and exceptionally light. That’s why including a Grenache was a no-brainer. If smooth, fruit-forward, light-bodied reds appeal to your tastebuds, this could be your new favorite. The grape itself is tricky; depending on the climate of where its grown, Grenache wines could be light, dense, or somewhere in the middle. La Pluma’s version has all the airiness and flavor notes we wanted in our Grenache, which is how we know you’ll love it. Get the most of this red by pairing it with roasted meats, spice-heavy vegetables, and Mexican-inspired dishes with lots of cumin.

$27.99

Barbera

Andiamo

We really try not to play favorites at In Good Taste, but there is just something about an Italian Barbera that hits different in the best way. Barberas are the perfect wine for pizza night; they’re low in alcohol, medium bodied but taste super light, and their berry and plum flavors pair incredibly well with savory tomato sauce and cheese! Another fun thing about Barberas? They actually taste great when chilled, which is not something we’re in the habit of suggesting for our red wines. Our Italian Barbera is the perfect marriage of a cab and a pinot and is the ideal choice for a ladies who lunch kind of afternoon.

$21.99

Vermentino

Wild Child

We couldn’t not have a weird white in the mix, right?! The Vermentino grape grows exclusively along the coast of Italy on the island of Sardinia (yeah, like the fish). Because of its origin, this grape offers a salty, crisp flavor that’s incredibly easy to drink and enjoy. We say it’s “weird” only because it’s not widely known by name, but chances are you’ve probably had it before if you’ve ever ordered white wine in an Italian restaurant. If you love peaches and lemons and get a kick out of anything that reminds you of the sea, our Vermentino is the perfect Italian white to experience on a sunny day outside.

$23.99

Viognier

Unprecedented

For the Chardonnay lovers who are looking to dig a bit deeper in the world of bold whites, a Viognier (pronounced vee-own-yay) could be your next big adventure. Viogniers tend to have more range; while they can be creamy with hints of vanilla like their Chardonnay counterpart, they also offer lighter, fruitier flavors like tangerine, mango, and honeysuckle. It’s still a more full-bodied white wine, but unlike Chardonnay, it’s softer on acidity and more perfumed. Spend an afternoon with a glass of Viognier amongst the flowers and it’ll all make sense.

$24.99

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