Summer heat have you down? Are you also missing your rich, red winter wines?
Rather than withering away, dreaming of cooler days, embrace the heat with a beautiful summer wine pairing.
Summer White Wine Pairing
Summer and White Wine = two of our favorite things in the world.
However, all good things come in 3’s.. after all it is the magic number. There are 3 major styles of White Wines to delight your senses.
Light Bodied White Wines
I know what you are thinking… isn’t “Body” a wine term used only to describe red wines? That is where you are wrong. *Link to a blog that describes body.
Any wine can display a unique style and form of body.
Light bodied white wines are known to be refreshing and crisp with hints of tartness. The ideal time to enjoy a light bodied white wine is while they are young. That is so you enjoy the full expression of their acidity and bold fruit notes.
- Background: A wine varietal that gained notoriety in Spain has begun to gain traction in international wine regions. California has begun producing some lovely Albariños that will wow your taste buds!
- Traits: Most notable for its high Acidity and big fruit flavors.
- Flavors: Lemon, Grapefruit, Nectarine, Melon & Wet Gravel
- Pairings: Thai, Moroccan and Indian Cuisines
- * Winefolly
- Background: Pinot Gris is a part of the lovely Pinot family (Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc & Pinot Meunier)
- Traits: A fun thing about Pinot Gris, is that the flavors can vary greatly based upon where it is grown. American Pinot Gris are often Fruity and Dry.
- Flavors: Lemon, Yellow Apple, Melon, Nectarine & Peach
- Pairings: Fish, particularly flaky dishes, Crab and Soft Cheeses.
*Special Note, Sauvignon Blanc’s have been my latest wine obsession or phase as you might say. Their crisp and bright flavors have really captured my attention. I have been trying & pairing as many as I can lately. Please pardon me as I fan girl lol
- Background: Sauvignon Blanc is one of the top white wines in the whole world. It is produced in just about every wine region you can think of! This wine is actually the parent to the most popular in the world.. Cabernet Sauvignon. Quite a successful family of wine!
- Traits: American Sauvignon Blancs, particularly from Northern California boast White Peach and creamy flavors. In fact, Robert Mondavi of Napa California re-envisioned Sauvignon Blanc with his aging technique. Adding notes of Pear, Tarragon and Cream while maintaining the green, fresh feeling.
- Flavors: Gooseberry, Green Lemon, Grapefruit, White Peach & Passion Fruit
- Pairings: Green Vegetables (Asparagus, Zucchini, Fresh Peas, Artichokes), Fresh Herbs, Oysters and Delicate Fish (such as Sole)
- Read more: Sunset Magazine’s : Sauvignon Blanc: Crisp and Refreshing
Full Bodied White Wine
As the name suggests, these wines are full of character and richness. What makes these white wines have a full body compared to their counter parts above? Often Full Bodied White Wines are aged in Oak barrels or on lees.
If you are like me you are wondering what is a “lees”? WineFolly says, “Lees are leftover yeast particles from autolysis which is the self-destruction of yeast cells by enzymes created from fermentation.” A fancy way of saying Lees is “a yeast added to a wine to enhance the textures and flavors of the wine.”
- Background: Without a doubt the most popular White Wine on the planet. Originating in France, adopted by the world. You can enjoy a good Chardonnay the world over.
- Traits: Chardonnay is most often known for its rich and creamy character. However, Chardonnay can be very complex depending on the region it is grown and the methods it is made. The new modern style has gaining popularity in the United States are Unoaked Chardonnay with light and zesty notes.
- Flavors: Yellow Apple, Starfruit, Pineapple, Butter and Chalk
- Pairings: Chicken, Fish and Vegetables. (Really hard to go wrong)
- Background: Lesser known to wine drinkers, white blends can present outstanding wine making skills!
- Traits: The trait of the White Blend, will vary upon the varietal used and the region they are made in. Whites that are catching a lot of attention lately are Symphony and Grenache Blanc.
- Flavors: The key flavors from the varietals used in the blend will shine through.
- Pairings: Whatever your heart desires! Make your pairing choice based upon the highest percentage varietal in the blend. That will always steer you right.
- More on White Wine Blends – San Luis Obispo / The Tribune’s – The Best Lesser-Known White Wines
- Background: Delicate and floral, Viognier is one of the most dainty and elegant wines to grace your pallet. If this wine were to be embodied by a human, Viognier would be none other than Grace Kelly.
- Traits: There are 2 Common Styles of Viognier that have unique flavor notes
- Cool Climate = Lime, Flowers & Minerals
- Warm Climate = Apricot, Rose & Vanilla
- Flavors: Tangerine, Peach, Mango, Honeysuckle and Rose
- Pairings: Shellfish (Scallops, Lobster, Crabs & Shrimp), Aromatic Seasonings ( Cinnamon, Cardamom, Ginger & Mild Indian Curries) and Soft / Semi Soft Cheese
- Thirsty to Learn More about Viognier? I suggest –
- Sunset’s – The Garden-Party Wine
Aromatic White Wine
Aromatic White Wines speak to all your senses, enveloping you before you even taste the wine. Much like walking into a blooming garden, these wines will lead you down a journey through the different sweet fruit and floral aromas. These wines are very similar and often pair great with different Asian and Indian dishes.
- Background: Despite its French sounding name, South Africa produces the most of this varietal! Did you know that brandy comes from Chenin Blanc grapes? Most of the varietal’s harvest become brandy!
- Traits: This white wine has many unique, less common notes. One fun part of the Chenin Blanc, is that it is an off dry wine. Despite all the sweet sounding flavor notes, Chenin Blanc can range greatly on the sweetness from dry to sweet and everywhere in between.
- Flavors: Lemon, Yellow Apple, Pear, Honey, Chamomile
- Pairings: Zucchini Soufflé, Foie Gras, Fresh Veggie Filled Risotto
- Thirsty to Learn More about Chenin Blanc? I suggest –
- Wine Enthusiast’s – Three Ultimate Chenin Blanc and Food Pairings
- Decanter’s China – How to Distinguish Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc and Riesling in Blind Tasting
- Background: With deep roots in Alsace, France and Germany, Gewürztraminer is one of the 18 Noble Grapes of the World. It has grown in popularity in the United States as different parts of Oregon, Washington and California have been producing many different styles.
- Traits: What’s the best kept secret of the American West Coast? Gewürztraminer! Each state has regions that have their own wonderful unique take on the Noble Grape. If you want to do some summer exploring, pour yourself a glass of this delicious refreshingly light varietal!
- Flavors: Lychee, Rose, Pink Grapefruit, Tangerine and Guava
- Pairings: Duck, Chicken, Anything with spice, Dim Sum, Vietnamese dishes, Pot Stickers and Dumpling Soup.
- Background: Versatile, easy drinking and full of character Riesling is the wine to bring when you want to impress your friends this summer. Arguably the most German wine in the world, many others have fallen in love and have created their own inspired by the greats.
- Traits: The West Coast is a Riesling power house. Light, refreshing yet sweet and floral. These Rieslings bring something to the table for everyone.
- Flavors: Lime, Green Apple, Bees Wax, Jasmine and Petroleum
- Sweet = Spicy dishes! Bring the heat & a sweet Riesling is ready to play.
- Dry = Duck it will balance the rich and delicious flavors.
- For More.. Read Try Riesling & Relax by Todd Wetzel
For a more in depth look into expertly pairing white wines, tune in later this month for our in depth post coming soon about different recipes to help you further explore the wondrous world of white wines!
Special Note of Thanks.
WineFolly book and website served as a great tool and guideline as our team continues to grow and learn about wine.
Want to take a closer look at some white wines? Awesome! Check these out –