I'm not usually one to talk much about the weather, but lately who can help it? WOW—is it ever hot. When the temperature's up, people's dispositions tend to go sour, too. What we all need to do is slow down, have a nice glass of wine, and everything will be alright.
But what to drink? In 100-degree heat, the last thing I want is a big, room temperature glass of dry, tannic red wine. What my taste buds crave is a generous pour of a crisp, acidic, well-chilled white. In a formal wine tasting, it's best to serve white wines only slightly chilled so that the flavors will come out. Over-chilling white wines will mask a lot of the flavor. For social sipping in hot weather, however, I'll admit that I prefer my beverage to be icy cold—like any good Southern girl would.
There's so much to choose from: Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Gruner Veltliner, among many others. When looking for a more thirst-quenching wine, I generally tend to stay away from Chardonnays, as they are often a little too rich and creamy. If you're a die-hard Chardonnay fan and really don't want to switch, try an unoaked chardonnay. The Wishing Tree (Australia – around $11) makes a great one. Fresh apple and pear flavors stand strong without the heavy overtones of oak.
One of my favorite styles of wine this time of year is dry Riesling. The Pikes Riesling (Clare Valley, Australia – around $18) is fantastic. It is bone-dry, but with tons of mouth-watering acidity and tropical fruit flavors. Make this one a poolside staple.
A brand new wine to Mississippi and to my personal repertoire is the Cable Station Sauvignon Blanc (New Zealand – around $17). This wine shows gobs of tangy grapefruit, coupled with passion fruit notes. Stainless steel fermentation gives it refreshing crispness, without the heaviness that oak brings to a wine. Try it alongside some goat cheese. Love it.
You'll be glad you tried the Domaine Wachau Gruner Veltliner (Austria – around $14). Wine Spectator gave this wine a score of 88. It is quite steely and dry, but with lovely notes of honey and spice. When you try this one, make sure you have a plate of Thai food in front of you.
Another new one to our area is the Heartland Stickleback White (Australia – around $12). This fun little wine is a blend of Semillon, Chardonnay and Verdelho. Tangy, sharp citrus zest and sweet pear flavors on the palate thankfully linger on the finish. Again, no oak so the wine is crisp and fresh. Yum, yum.
If anyone needs me, I'll be having a glass of each of these…