Sexy Summer Wines

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Lately, it has been easier than ever to explore new wine varietals and wine producers with the expanded opportunities for online ordering and shipping directly to our homes. When wines are discounted 50 percent or more, it makes the shopping experience feel like Christmas when the boxes arrive with hand-written thank-you notes from your winery staff.

This is a perfect time to sample new wines from wineries near and far that can bring you a world of flavor right to your door. Included in this group from fruity, dry, to sweet, are a few sexy summer wines to taste as we ease into some summer cooking and sipping in our backyards.

Although the semillon grape often sits comfortably in the backseat of French white wine blends, it’s a beautiful grape enjoyed when bottled on its own. With great body and medium to light acidity, semillon can vary in sweetness and can be left on the vine to create a great base for dessert wines. In its most fancy state, Semillon is part of French white Bordeaux wines, Bordeaux Blanc, where it will share the bottle with percentages of sauvignon blanc, columbard or muscadelle. These wines are food-friendly wines, easy on the palate and have an essence of minerals, oyster shell, honey and sometimes fresh-cut grass.

Sauvignon Blanc
Often thought of as the red wine lover’s white wine, it can be misunderstood as bitter, acidic and even astringent. With an overpowering sensory profile, it’s often skipped on the tasting menu when, in fact, each producer strives for a different, unique expression of this classic French grape. Grown throughout the world, sauvignon blanc can range from grassy to oyster shell to fruit-centric. The trick is to find the one that works with your palate and general food palate. If your diet is mostly vegetarian/vegan in nature, you may appreciate a wine that is less acidic and more on the oyster shell range of minerality; a more acidic wine is going to blend well with the charcuterie, dried meats, barbeque and smoke fish diet.

One of my favorite go-to white wines is a Spanish varietal that grows extremely well in California and throughout foothill terroirs throughout warmer climates. Flavorful and acidic, the albariño is wonderful with fish tacos, fruit salads and prosciutto wrapped asparagus! Very light in color, the first notes of Albariño could be honeysuckle or lemon. Served chilled, the wine warms to a grassy finish that’s dry, not sweet.

Sancerre is a wine producing region in the Loire Valley of France known primarily for production of white wine grape sauvignon blanc and some pinot noir produced in a more rosé or light red style similar to Beaujolais. Although Sancerre is a region, it is often listed as such on the wine list under sauvignon blanc as well, allowing us to order a Sancerre for a fruity and balanced white wine with an unoaked mineral finish. Consider ordering with your luncheon salads or during appetizer hour in the early evening.

A style of wine considered to be sweet by most wine professionals, it’s semillon left to ripen on the vine, which produces the added benefit of a condensed nectar-sweet flavor. These ripened lots of semillon grapes may be blended with chardonnay or sauvignon blanc to increase the acidity for a more food-friendly pairing. Blending with semillon that was picked earlier in the season creates a fuller-bodied wine with interesting depth that will show off its nobility with a pungent Stilton, spicy curry or cayenne rub or a lemon chiffon cheesecake.

Ordering wines through your favorite wineries by calling directly or shopping on their website can ensure quality direct from the seller. Wines will be shipped only when weather permits safe passage both in the winter and the summer. Summer heat will adversely affect the wines if they are not shipped with icepacks and cooling gels.

Subscribe and explore online wine distributors that put together new artisans and winemakers. These artisans strive to work efficiently and cost effectively by pooling resources together for harvesting, storage and production. Their operations often include shared online shopping carts so that the buyer can pick and choose from a variety of producers in one shipment. This option is perfect when exploring regional wineries in your area is not possible.

In restaurants this summer, watch for new listings in both the red wine and white wine categories. Ask the servers what is new to their menu, as they will often provide a very small one-ounce sample to help you with your selection. Enjoying a sauterne with your cheese and charcuterie platter may be a nice way to enjoy an afternoon with a friend.

Thanks for supporting the small businesses producing the wines you enjoy. Cheers to a summer of sipping well!

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