- Flickr / Leonid Mamchenkov
Above all else, says Jörn Kleinhans, a summer wine should be refreshing.
There are two factors that influence that: the temperature of the wine (“you cannot serve white wine cold enough”) and the acidity.
Temperature is somewhat straightforward – Kleinhans, owner of The Sommelier Company, recommends buying two bottles of identical wine at a time and freezing one into ice cubes that won’t dilute your glass as they melt – but acidity is somewhat trickier.
Here, Kleinhans suggests five reasonably priced types of wines you can buy that are perfect for summer.
Rosé from Bandol, in Provence, France
“In Provence they make unique rosé,” Kleinhans tells Business Insider. “It’s always bone dry. We realized many Americans think of rosé as sweet, but only the bad ones are sweet.”
And because of the region’s excellent reputation with the wine, you can count on rosés labeled with “Provence” to be high quality, no matter how much they cost.
“It’s absolutely acceptable to choose a nice Provence rosé for $10-$20,” Kleinhans says. “You can find them easily at that range. The good news is that with French rosé from Provence, you don’t have to worry about the price. If their name is on it, it will be a classy, high quality rosé. That tradition of excellence keeps the wine producers in check – no one dares to deliver a bad one.”
Kleinhans recommends rosé from the seaside Provençal town of Bandol specifically. Like any good rosé, it’s meant to be a salmon color rather than the cloying pink many wine drinkers have become accustomed to, and is always “bone dry and refreshing.”
- Flickr / jenny downing
Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough, New Zealand
“The explosive grapefruit acidity is best served ice cold and provides a lively framing to an early lunch in summer,” Kleinhans says. “Sauvignon Blanc may be unmatched as a summer wine.”
He previously pointed out to Business Insider that New Zealand is famous for its Sauvignon Blanc, and wines from the Marlborough region is particularly good. “New Zealand makes a very reliable $7-$10 Sauvignon Blanc,” he says. “It’s so reliable that it’s not possible to buy a bad New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.”
Riesling (Spȁtlese level) from Mosel, Germany
“Rieslings are often moderately sweet, but their signature is strong acidity, honey, petroleum, and slate,” Kleinhans says. “The highly complex flavors must be kept at bay with constant icing, so always let the bottle rest on ice, not just standing on the table.”
“While the Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay are dry wines, not having the residual sugar that gives you sweetness, Riesling, as the third of the three most important white wine grapes, does have sweetness in most cases,” he previously told Business Insider. “It’s one of the most aromatic, perfect food pairings when it comes to spicy foods – sommeliers know that one of the most perfect food pairings is Thai curry and Riesling.”
- Flickr / COD Newsroom
Nebbiolo from Barolo in Italy
A common misperception about summer wines is that they all must be white, Kleinhans says. However, there’s still a place for red – most notably, when dining al fresco on warm summer nights. “Summertime still allows for red wine, but more so after the lights have gone down and the temperatures become perfect,” he says.
Barolo comes from the Nebbiolo grape found in the Alpine foothills in the Italian province of Piemonte. “Tastes of tar, roses, and hints of licorice among other herbaceous aspects make these Northern Italian wines so intriguing and so unique,” Kleinhans previously told Business Insider.
Tempranillo (Gran Reserva level) from Rioja in Spain
“The wild smoky and leathery oakiness is exactly the taste of a late summer in the countryside,” Kleinhans says.
“TheGran Reserva bottlingis one of the great secrets, where you can buy one of the world’s high end wines at an impressive price,” he told Business Insider previously. “It’s one of the greatest Gran Reservas available. You’re looking for oak notes of cigar smoke, leather, and sawdust.”
Kleinhans says Rioja Gran Reserva is “probably one of the greatest high-end wines in the world that you can get at tremendous value.”