Notes on Summer Wine from Sean Q. Meyer, Estate Sommelier
Summer. Warm sun, backyard barbecues, beaches and waterparks come to mind.
One of my favorite things about summer is the opportunity to move back into light crisp white wines and taking a break from the heavy red wines of winter. My favorite wines to drink during summer all have a similar flavor profile. They are high in acidity and mineral, they smell great and they go with a number of different types of food. A number of them have unfamiliar names or even unpronounceable names and can come from all over the world. So, your summer homework is to try wines from any of the following grape varieties if you have not already.
Grüner Veltliner – This is a grape native to Austria and really finds its best expressions in the Austrian regions of Kamtal, Kremstal and Wachau. The grape tends to lend citrus floral and savory (white pepper and herbs) to the wines making it one of the most versatile choice for pairing with anything. This is a perfect companion to any summer feast. Wines from the Wachau will be labeled for grape ripeness with the words “Steinfeder,” “Federspiel,” or “Smaragd”. Smaragd wines come from the ripest grapes and will be the heaviest and richest which Steinfeder falls on the opposite side of the spectrum with the lightest and crispest wines.
Torrontes – Intoxicatingly floral, fruity and light, Torrontes is Argentina’s great contribution to the world of white wine. Great examples of this grape can often be had for around $12 a bottle making the perfect companion to patio revelry or poolside partying. It smells wonderful, tastes great and is often sealed with a screw cap for easy access. Torrontes is light, delicious and easy to drink and pairs with light seafood and salty things (chips etc.).
Assyrtiko – Opa! Hailing from the Greek island of Santorini, the Assyrtiko grape makes incredibly refreshing white wines. Most historians believe that wine cultivation on the island dates back at least 5000 years but it was a volcanic eruption in 1600 BC which made the wines truly great, the volcanic soil lending to the intense flavor profile of Greece’s finest white wine. Assyrtiko wines taste of lemon and mineral and have a very high acidity much like the wine version of lemonade. And like lemonade, no summer or summer party would be quite complete without it. Assytiko tends to pair best with light fish and raw bar far (oysters, chilled shrimp, etc). This is about as far from Retsina as you can get.
Contact Sommelier Sean Q. Meyer directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more or place a wine order, please visit http://www.destinationcellars.com .