Some wines weather well in heat


POSTED: Friday, June 12, 2009

A co-worker came up to me yesterday and said, “;Boy, it's a hot one! I think this is going to be a real hot summer.”;

Yes, summer is here! The sun is glaring and days are getting longer. It's a time to change—lighter clothing, lighter and fresher foods, even the kind of wines we drink.

The profile of wine conducive to hot weather sipping is lighter in body, more crisp, lower in alcohol content and usually less oaky. Here are some recommendations on how to find such wines, especially those offering great value for the dollar.

The first place to look would be in the sparkling-wine category. French champagne is always a treat, no matter what time of year; there are also many apropos bubbly selections from California.

For real value, however, consider Italian prosecco or Spanish cava—the finest are often medium dry to dry, have remarkable lightness on the palate and are absolutely delicious at half the price!

Another reliable source for summer thirst-quenchers is German Riesling. The ideal style, for me at least, would be a medium-dry version with just a hint of sweetness to round out hard edges. Plus, you will be amazed at how versatile this style of Riesling really is, from the picnic table to the barbecue to a home-cooked Asian stir fry.

White-wine lovers should also consider lighter, crisper styles of sauvignon blancs from California and France's Loire Valley. For value seekers, Chile can be quite a treasure chest for bright, clean, completely refreshing sauvignon blancs and similarly styled chardonnays as well.

For the chardonnay lover, summer is a really opportune time to sip well-chilled, un-oaked versions of this grape. Thankfully, there are a quickly growing number of delicious renditions now more readily available for consumers.

For the real foodie, you've probably already read that summer is the time for dry, exuberant, deliciously fruit-driven pink wines. As the traveling gourmet well knows, this is the wine style most commonly served during this time of the year at cafes and bistros along the Mediterranean basin.

Why? Because the best ones are thirst-quenching, incredibly food-friendly and gulpable. The best advice from the region is to serve wines well chilled and have some fun this summer.

Lastly, for the red-wine drinker, 'tis the time for Beaujolais (hopefully true artisan, “;boutique”; versions) and more elegant, prettier styles of pinot noirs. Be sure to choose one where deliciousness is the priority.


”;By the Glass”; appears every second Friday in HILife. To contact Chuck Furuya, visit www.dkrestaurants.com.