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Here’s what you should look for in a summer wine, besides a pretty shade of pink.
Reds You Can Chill
Good news: The sommelier police will not fine you for chilling a bottle of red. In fact, that’s exactly what Ashley Santoro, sommelier and beverage director for The Standard Hotels, does when she maxes out on rosé mid-June. “The key is to chill lighter reds (like pinot noir), not more tannic varietals like cabernet and syrah,” she says.
Wine to try: Santoro’s most recent go-to has been Foradori Lezèr from Trentino, Italy. “It’s light to medium with dark fruit and savory notes,” she says. (“Lezèr” comes from the regional term for “light.”) “I also love the Château Tire Pé, “Diem” 2016 from Bordeaux, which is another fresh option great for summer.”
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“Oak barrels create warmer, heavier wines, which—though delicious—aren’t so great for summer,” says José Alfredo Morales, sommelier at La Malbequeria wine bar in Buenos Aires. While reds typically spend more time aging in a barrel, some whites (like chardonnay) are barrel-aged too, making them a better fit for Thanksgiving dinner than for a day of drinking in the sun. That’s why he suggests unoaked wines that have a lighter, fresher taste. Whites like torrontés or sauvignon blanc are usually spared the oak treatment.
Wine to try: “I’m obsessed with the Château Peybonhomme Les Tours Blanc from Côtes de Blaye (Bordeaux) because it’s fresh and mineral driven with beautiful texture and acidity,” Santoro says.
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“Whites from high-altitude regions tend to be stronger in acidity, which makes for a refreshing wine perfect for a hot day,” Morales says. Some common high-altitude regions to look for: Salta, Argentina; Alto Adige, Italy; and Rueda, Spain.
Wine to try: “Verdejo—grown in Rueda, about two hours north of Madrid and 2,300 to 3,300 feet above sea level—is the number-one white wine consumed in Spain,” says Sarah Howard, U.S. Brand Ambassador for the regions of Ribera del Duero and Rueda in Spain. “It’s crisp, refreshing, and full of bright flavors, like lemon, lime, and tropical fruits.” Howard suggests Menade Verdejo for your next party or picnic. “It’s dry and balanced, perfect for beach parties.”