Summertime conjures up visions of outdoor dining. From backyard barbeques to beachside picnics, rising temperatures mean taking those plates outdoors to soak up the sun and spend quality time with friends and family. However, all that outdoor dining doesn’t mean you have to be stuck drinking your alcohol from a pop-tab can (not that there’s anything wrong with that). There are many wines that are just as, if not more, delicious served up alongside boiled shrimp or burgers.
Rosé is a happy medium between red and white that’s perfect for a warm summer evenings. It has a light, fruity flavor that makes it particularly refreshing with salty/sweet summer salads made with fresh tomatoes or cucumbers. Oddly enough, rosé might also just be the perfect wine to pair with your boudin. Its sweetness stands up well to salty pork sausage.
Light, sparkly and slightly spicy, bubby wines were made for beach days. They can also be a welcome addition to your backyard dinner party. Bubbles pair well with crisp, green vegetables in the summer, like asparagus and avocado salads. They’re also wonderful with shellfish: think fresh clam linguini or even grilled shrimp. You can even pair sparkling wine with citrusy desserts, like key lime pie. The bubbles help bring out the sweetness in acidic flavors.
When the weather gets warmer, most people instinctively reach for the whites. With good reason! Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio are sweet, floral and fruity, which make them excellent lighthearted complements to summer fun. However, this summer you might want to experiment with some new whites. For example, pair a brightly floral Portuguese Vinho Verde with your grilled chicken or a dry, yet sweet, German Riesling with your salty grilled sausages.
Summertime doesn’t automatically mean you have to give up your reds. While the most common image of red wine is a hearty merlot sipped near a roaring fire with a big slab of steak, there are plenty of lighter options that are nice pairings for your outdoor dining. Tuscan wines like Chianti, that balance spicy and bold, fruity flavors are very refreshing in summer. And pinot noir, which usually has notes of strawberry, raspberry and black cherry is a beautiful wine to sip in the warmer months.
Be it white or red, sangria is the perfect party beverage. It’s fruity, fun, and served over ice to make it more like punch than a glass of wine. To make: combine half a chopped apple and half a chopped orange with three teaspoons simple syrup in a pitcher. Then add ¾ cup orange juice, a third cup brandy, and a bottle of dry red or white wine. Mix, chill, and serve over ice. It’s the perfect compliment to a backyard burger.
So whether you’re packing a picnic basket or a beach cooler, there’s no reason to leave the wine behind. Just make sure the bottle you’re choosing has plenty of light fruit and floral flavors to accentuate all the sweet and spicy tastes of summer.