By Sam Kolas
What is the perfect summertime wine?
Recently, I found myself contemplating this weighted question, and decided it was an exercise in futility—the answer could change from day to day depending on my mood, where I was and who I was with, but I wanted to try to answer it anyway.
I though about general flavors, textures and drinkability.
- Citrus and tropical aromas with a hint of salinity or mineral
- Crisp, clean and refreshing
- Complex, long and clean finish
- Some fizz for a bit of lift and pizazz
- Ability to pair with lighter foods (salads, seafood, fruit, etc.)
After reading through my checklist it dawned on me—my perfect summertime wine is Champagne! This surprised me because I rarely think of grabbing a bottle of bubbly just to drink on my deck on a warm night. Champagne is usually associated with celebrations like weddings or anniversaries.
But why not drink more Champagne in the summer?
The moral of the story is be open minded and don’t pigeonhole a particular wine for only one occasion. Champagne can be a great choice this summer. Here are a few of my favorites.
Cristalino Brut ($10)
A Spanish Cava that is easy on the wallet, yet surprisingly pleasant to drink. If you are looking for a crisp, dry sparkling wine bargain, try Cava. Features bright aromas of green apples, peaches, toast and cinnamon. It’s a great alternative to Champagne at a fraction of the price.
Gruet Brut ($16)
A beauty from New Mexico. Yes, New Mexico. This wine is made in the traditional Methode Champenoise style, giving it great complexity and body and a toasty flavor on the back end. A dry blend, this is a traditional sparkler that does a great job of emulating classic French style. Features citrus and green apple with a long and yeasty finish.
Duval-Leroy NV Brut Champagne ($35)
A true Champagne from the Champagne region in France. Looking for a bargain in the Champagne world, Duval-Leroy seldom disappoints. Founded in 1859, this winery provides the tradition and history of great Champagne without the extreme price tag. There’s a finesse, lightness and elegance that is absolutely perfect for summertime fare. It is one of the few 100% family-owned champagne firms and is consistently ranked among the top 10 Champagne houses.