Summer Sips: Our favorite warm weather wines

When the day is done here at Savage River Lodge, we love to retire to a rocking chair on the deck with a couple of glasses and uncork something. The weather has been damp for most of the summer, to say the least, but in the last week we’ve seen a heatwave so that a cool and refreshing beverage has been just what we needed. We thought we’d share with you what we’ve been reaching for lately.

Any and all Sauvignon Blancs work wonderfully at this time of the season. The grape has light citrus and tropical flavors, with grassy notes as well. Our favorites include Duckhorn Sauvignon Blanc, Rutherford Ranch, and Frog’s Leap. Generally, Californian Sauvignon Blancs are less tart and more stainless than those from other regions which make them a go-to for beginning wine drinkers and connoisseurs alike. (Pro tip: pairs well with FireFly Farms Allegheny Chevre!)

We also recommend Zenato’s Lugana San Benedetto. The Italian Trebbiano di Lugana grape is more full-bodied than many fruity summer whites with its peach and banana citrus nuances, but is still perfect for drinking by the water – perhaps because it’s grown near the Adriatic Sea.

Reds can feel overwhelmingly heavy in hot weather, particularly the rich and complex flavors of Cabernets and Syrahs. However, if you’re fond of a red’s fuller tones, lighter-bodied reds can be chilled to take the edge off of a late afternoon. Louis Jadot Beaujolais-Villages is one such red that can be brought down even to 50 degrees, without losing its slightly spicy and dark cherry flavor with nice tannins on the finish.

The old standby, Pinot Noir, holds up at all times of year. In the summertime we prefer a jammy Pinot such as Hangtime, Meimoi, or Belle Glos, ideally served at 62 degrees. Vivid berry characteristics pair well with grilled white fish, red meat, charcuterie, cheese, or can be enjoyed on their own, by the glass.

Cheers to summer!

How to chill your bottle – A white is best served at 42 degrees, or after the bottle has been in the refrigerator for approximately two hours. The higher temperatures for the Pinots, for example, may only need thirty minutes or so. Ideally, you’ve planned ahead and popped a bottle in the fridge while you set to making pasta salad, but we know that doesn’t always happen. To chill a bottle quickly, never place it in the freezer as that can pop the cork. Instead, place in a bucket of half ice and half ice water for 15-20 minutes.

Photograph by Aurelian Săndulescu

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