Summer brings higher temperatures and higher humidity and that big red wine you loved on a breezy January day isn’t going to be as satisfying in July.
You might be able to turn down the air conditioner and enjoy a glass of a California Cabernet Sauvignon or Zinfandel, but chances are those wines won’t pair very well with the summery fare you’re having for dinner.
Luckily, the wine world is full of variety and there are plenty of good options that pair perfectly with summer.
There are three things to look for when buying wines for summer: wines with refreshing acidity, wines that aren’t too alcoholic and wines that can be chilled. The following wines, which are all perfect for summer drinking, can be found at West Indies Wine Company, Big Daddy’s Fine Wines & Spirits and Blackbeard’s Beers Wines Spirits and all cost CI$25 or less.
White wines are always a good option for summer, but you might want to steer away from the high alcohol, heavily oaked Chardonnays and choose lighter bodied wines. New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs like Nobilo are very popular wines in the Cayman Islands for good reason: They have good acidity and maintain lots of flavour even when chilled to ice cold.
Those looking for a Sauvignon Blanc that is a little more subtle can try ones from California (Justin) or South Africa (Tokara).
For those looking for something different, other good white wine options for the summer include dry Rieslings from Washington state (Kung Fu Girl) or Germany (Urban), Grüner Veltliners from Austria (Loimer), Albariños from Spain (Paco & Lola) or Xarel-lo from Spain (Raventos i Blanc Silencis). For those who like Pinot Grigio, try Masi Masianco, a blend of Pinot Grigio and Verduzzo.
The rising popularity of dry rosés has been one of the biggest wine trends over the past few years. Rosés are served chilled, so they’re perfect for summer and because they’re made at least partially with red grapes, they add a fruit dimension not found in white wines, allowing them to pair with a wider variety of foods. For those who prefer the lighter Provence-style of rosé, try AIX or Pétale de Rose. For a darker and richer rosé that can pair with heartier meals, try Elk Cove Pinot Noir rosé from Oregon, Masi Rosa dei Masi from Italy or Viña Real Rosado from Spain.
When in doubt, go with sparkling wines. They’re served cold, almost always have refreshing acidity and are just fun. The Loire Valley winery De Chanceny in France makes Brut and Brut Rosé sparkling wines using the same method used to make Champagne and both are sold for under $25. Paco & Lola’s Cava from Spain is another excellent summer choice and even the bottle is fun.
There are those who just want to drink red wines, even when it is 90 degrees outside. If you’re one of these people, or just find yourself craving a red wine over the long summer, try one that can be slightly chilled, like Pinot Noir (Villa Maria from New Zealand or Luc Pirlet Reserve from France). Another medium-bodied red wine that is summer-friendly is Planeta’s Dorilli Cerasuolo di Vittoria Classico, a blend of Nero d’Avola and Frappato from Sicily.