Menuism Dining Blog
Dining education for foodies

Try an unoaked chardonnay this summer. Photo by Robert S. Donovan.

The sweltering summertime heat beckons foods that are cooling, refreshing and uplifting. Think heirloom tomato gazpacho, citrusy ceviche, and cold, crisp watermelon. When it comes to choosing the right wines for summer, follow the same guidelines and reach for wines that are perky, vibrant and invigorating—they’ll raise your spirits and quench your thirst.

Read on to discover three categories of white wine that will keep you cool and happy all summer long.

Unoaked White Wines

Unoaked wines are fresher and lighter in style than their oaky counterparts, favoring pure fruit flavors and brisk mineral elements over the often-heavy notes of vanilla, caramel and butterscotch that can result from barrel aging. When the temperature rises, unoaked whites are the perfect respite from the heat, offering up clean, unadorned refreshment in every glass.

Quench your thirst with:

California Chardonnay: Lioco Carneros Chardonnay

French Picpoul: Domaine Félines Jourdan Picpoul de Pinet

Low-Alcohol White Wines

Wines that are high in alcohol give off the sensation of heat, so if you’re looking for a white wine that will cool you down, choose a bottle that has a low alcohol content, anywhere from 11% to 13%. Drinking high-alcohol wines in the sun can also cause light-headedness and dizziness, so stick with low-alcohol options to avoid adverse reactions. Low-alcohol wines are also well suited for lazy days by the pool or leisurely afternoon BBQs where you may be drinking continuously for several hours in a row.

Quench your thirst with:

Austrian Grüner Veltliner: Hiedler Grüner Veltliner Löss

South African Sauvignon Blanc: Darling Cellars Onyx Sauvignon Blanc

Young & Fresh White Wines

Youthful wines that are within one to two years of their vintage date (or harvest date) make perfect summer sippers since they are super fresh and lively, exactly what you’re bound to crave on a hot summer day. Acidity levels in young wines are generally higher than in aged wines, and when the sun is blazing, acidity is the perfect antidote.

Quench your thirst with:

White Burgundy: Domaine de la Cadette Bourgogne Vézelay Blanc La Châtelaine

New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc: Jules Taylor Sauvignon Blanc

Editor’s Note: Which white wines do you reach for to keep cool in the summer heat?

Etty Lewensztain is the owner of Plonk Wine Merchants, an online shop focused on small-production, artisanal and altogether great cheap wine. The food- and wine- obsessed Los Angeles native cut her teeth in the wine biz running a marketing campaign to promote Chilean wine in the United States, and is certified by the esteemed Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) and the American Sommelier Association. Plonk Wine Merchants specializes in hidden gems from around the globe and every bottle in the store is priced below $30. Follow Plonk Wine Merchants on Twitter @ PlonkOnline.

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