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Summer Wine Guide: What to serve

From whites to rosés to reds, a bottle to suit every occasion..

Posted June 8, 2012

WineWine drinkers often think of summer as the time to ditch reds entirely and focus just on white wine. But to do so is to miss half the story. Below are a few wines that pair beautifully with the lazy, hazy days of summer – no matter what your entertaining plans are.


Many of us were taught to avoid pink wine (remember "wine coolers"?), but today's wine lovers know that rosé is just about the hottest trend right now for warm-weather wine. Since rosé is born via the winemaking process rather than by a grape varietal, there are several types; it can be made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, or any red grape at all, though pink wines are always lighter and fruitier than their corresponding reds. 

Rosé is the perfect option for dinner parties as it pleases both red-wine and white-wine drinkers. Another advantage is that it’s cost effective; it’s rarely aged in expensive oak barrels, which means that a nice bottle can be found for under $12.

Food matches include cheese, fruit and grilled fish, chicken, and pork. The only things a rosé won’t stand up to well are the boldest, meatiest spiciest flavors, which really require a red or a beer.

Tip: If you want a very dry rosé, go French.



While it’s true that a Zin doesn't complement light-and-delicate fare, it is just the thing to pair with those all-American barbecue recipes we love so much. Zinfandel is a great partner for burgers, steaks, ribs and brats.

Tip: Zinfandel needs to be served at classic cellar temperature, around 55 degrees.



This crisp, often dry Portuguese wine is quickly gaining in popularity as a summertime wine and it’s easy to see why: it’s only about 9 to 10 percent alcohol, it can accommodate an ice cube or two (which comes in handy if you’re drinking outside in 90 degree heat), and it’s even compatible with a dash of sparkling water for people who like spritzers. At under $10 per bottle, it’s a serious steal, so buy a case to have on hand all summer. Matches well with shellfish or pasta.

Tip: Vinho Verde means "young wine" and is meant to be consumed within a year of bottling.



Today’s Rieslings are a far cry from the super-sweet ones of the ‘70s and ‘80s. The classic peach and apricot notes in today’s German Rieslings match well with summery salads, chicken and pork. 

Tip: Best drunk moderately chilled.

Now get back to your bigger summer concerns, like deciding beach vs. pool.


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