The Wines of Summer

Recently, we had a blazing hot day in San Francisco. It was 86°F. All right Midwestern friends, don’t mock me too much, California has made me soft.  It was a reminder, to me and the rest of the Bay Area, that summer is just around the corner, and we need to be ready. Here’s a list of wines to drink this summer and beat the heat with.

Vinho Verde

Vinho Verde is, in my mind, a no brainer to challenge the heat of summer. Wines from Vinho Verde (in Northern Portugal) are light, fresh, crisp, often a little effervescent, and low in alcohol (typically 11% or less) which makes them an ideal choice for warm sunny days. They’re best served ice cold – TAKE THAT 86°F!  (or 100°F if you don’t live in San Francisco). And since they’re lower in alcohol than many other wines you can drink a bit more without getting hammered. A refreshing choice.



We can all be blunt about the fact that rosé is cool again. Don’t worry, no one will think you’re drinking white zinfandel, and if you are and you like it keep on doing that. I’m not looking to reinvent the wheel here. Rosé is great for summer drinking—it’s light in flavor, crisp, often zesty, and a nice pair to lots of summer foods (brats, tomatoes, BBQ, etc). All summer long in crazy hot Provence people are sucking down the stuff by the gallon, or at least by the 750mL bottle, and a whole region of locals and tourists can’t all be wrong. So, get yourself some rosé.


Sancerre Blanc

It’s well known amongst my friends and colleagues that I adore Sancerre and will happily drinking it any time. Putting my personal feelings aside, I still think that Sancerre Blanc is a lifesaver in the summer heat. Racy acidity with fresh citrus flavors, it dances on your tongue, but doesn’t hit you over the head, so you’re ready for another sip. Make sure you drink this one outside, in the sunshine, with some freshly caught fish. You’ll be happy that you did.





White Port Cocktail

Fill a highball glass with ice, add 2oz of dry white Port, top with tonic, and garnish with a slice of lemon. Okay team, I know this isn’t technically a wine that’s perfect to challenge summer with, but it is a delicious drink, that contains wine, and is a great summer sipper. Think of it like a light, easy drinking gin and tonic. Since dry white Port is only 20% ABV, at a maximum, you could suck down twice as many as you could gin and tonics (if you were so inclined). That’s twice as much tonic, which is probably hydrating (important in the heat) and at the very least will definitely keep the malaria away (in case you’re on safari). If you want to be a pro, serve it in a wine glass with one big ice cube, a slice of lemon and a sprig of mint. Delicious!


Summer is coming. Challenge accepted.