Erik Neilson on June 28, 2016 0 Comments Summer is a time of year that many people look forward to for months on end, and for good reason. It’s the perfect season for getting together with friends and enjoying some al fresco dining, and wine almost invariably becomes a part of the equation. For those who are used to drinking bold, heavy reds on the regular, however, choosing wines that pair well with the heat of summer can be easier said than done. Fortunately, there are a number of reds, whites and sparklers that are light enough to drink all summer long without ever feeling even the least bit overbearing. Here are 10 wines that are perfect for summer drinking, no matter how hot it gets outside. 1. Riesling Riesling is one of the most interesting white wines available. Though often sweet and viscous, dry Rieslings can be found from producers in both Germany and America (Washington is known for its excellent Riesling), characterized by a crisp acidity and notes of peach, pear and apricot. Perfect for pairing with Thai food or otherwise spicy cuisine, Riesling is one of the most food-friendly wines a person can drink during the summer months. It’s also important to note that you get what you pay for with Rieslings, so consider spending a bit extra if you’re looking for a supremely dry, drinkable bottle for summer. 2. Pinot Noir Looking for a red that won’t put you to sleep under the heat of the summer sun? Pinot Noir is the grape for you. Grown throughout the world and especially focused upon in Oregon, California and New Zealand, Pinot Noir features the juicy complexity of bigger wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon, yet with a fraction of the body. Its light, pleasant mouthfeel makes it ideal as an easygoing start to any meal, and this wine in particular will appeal heavily to red lovers who are attempting to keep things on the airier side. 3. Frappato Perhaps the lightest wine on the list that can still be considered a red as opposed to a rosé, Frappato is a Sicilian grape that exhibits the color of wildflowers and even takes on such flavors. Bursting with minerality from the volcanic soil the grape is grown in, Frappato is about as refreshing as a red wine can get. Ideal for serving with oysters, this wine can also stand on its own as a summer sipper while hanging out on the beach. 4. Rosé Rosé is somewhat of a blanket style, as the type of wine that ends up getting labelled as a Rosé can actually vary significantly depending upon the circumstances. Though there are a number of different ways to produce Rosé, the end result tends to be similar no matter what — crisp acidity, a blush pink color and an exceptionally light body. As with Frappato, Rosé is a perfect wine to pair with shellfish, though it’s surprisingly versatile and can even be served alongside certain red meats. As far as summer wines go, it’s difficult to beat the refreshing qualities of a well-crafted Rosé. 5. Pinot Grigio Pinot Grigio is a very popular white wine grape, and while it deserves a spot at the table year-round, it seems practically born for drinking during the summer months. Rife with notes of mango, pineapple and guava, the racy acidity of Pinot Grigio makes it an excellent wine for pairing with vinegary food, and there are few wines that beat this particular grape when it comes to pairing with seafood. 6. Moscato Not everyone enjoys a bone-dry white wine, and for those who are looking for something on the sweeter end of the spectrum, Moscato fits the bill. Though the cheaper, lower quality Moscato wine characteristically found in supermarkets tends to be sickeningly sweet, there are plenty of well-crafted Moscatos that are ripe and juicy, with notes of pear and honeysuckle. Perfect as a dessert wine or simply alongside an acidic salad, Moscato can be surprisingly delicious and satisfying at times. 7. Sauvignon Blanc Known as being perhaps the best possible wine for pairing with chicken and most types of seafood, Sauvignon Blanc is often exactly what most people are looking for when attempting to choose the perfect summer white. Acidic, yet soft enough to carry with it creamy notes of lime, herbs and tropical mango, a good bottle of Sauvignon Blanc can become the star of the show on a warm summer evening. Given how popular this grape is, it shouldn’t be too hard to find a strong example of the style without having to spend very much money. 8. Chardonnay There are few grapes out there that embody the creaminess of butter quite like Chardonnay. Though it doesn’t sound quite like what most people think they’d like to drink, the creaminess of Chardonnay matches any buttery food to a tee. The summer breeze paired with a plate of scallops and melted leeks with a glass of Chardonnay is warm weather elegance that’s difficult to beat, and it’s an affordable luxury that any wine lover can enjoy. 9. Barbera Sometimes, one of the best summer wines for the evening is an extremely drinkable red from Italy, and Barbera is about as drinkable as it gets. Woody, tannic and reminiscent in many ways of fresh tomato juice, Barbera is the wine that many makers throughout Italy drink rather than exporting, which typically gets reserved for Barolo and Nebbiolo. There’s simply no better wine to drink alongside a slice or two of pizza, and fortunately, Barbera tends to be relatively affordable in comparison to other, similar wines. 10. Beaujolais From the center of France, Beaujolais is a popular summer wine that gets its intense minerality from the granite hillside the grape is grown on. Fruity, juicy and very easy to drink, Beaujolais can be paired with practically any protein, including various types of seafood. Don’t bother spending the extra money on pricier Beaujolais crus, as they’ll be more tannic than what you’re looking for on a hot summer day. Summer won’t last long, so pick one of these delicious summer wines, get outside and enjoy the sunshine!