Our favorite wines for sunny days
Wines possess a mystical power to transport us through space and time without ever leaving the comfort of our kitchen, living room, porch swing, or beach chair. As the days begin to get longer, the flowers are in full bloom, and our souls are filled with the deep warmth that can only be obtained through rays of sunshine on our faces. This is that magical time of year when we can finally leave the cold dark confines of winter behind, head to our favorite porch swing or beach chair and reach for a glass wine. Rosé, sparkling, crisp white, it doesn’t matter, as long as it’s your favorite bottle for sunny day sips, and soaking up rays. Here are some warm weather wines that should always be kept on hand during these fun-in-the-sun months, as well as some sunny dishes to pair with them.
It’s impossible to talk about warm weather wines without discussing rosé. In fact, if you love wine, it’s impossible to even think about a backyard BBQ, a day at the beach, spending time on the lake, or fireworks show without immediately conjuring images of a cool glass of rosé in your hand.
Rosé has become synonymous with sunny day sips and is the gold, or should we say rose gold, standard for fun in the sun wine drinkers. Rosé is also a very diverse and complex wine, for which it doesn’t always receive its rightful credit. Rosé can, and should, be enjoyed all year round due to its ability to pair well with a multitude of dishes. This pink wine is produced by allowing the juice of grapes to be in contact with the skins for only a short period of time.
The red varieties that are used to make rosé are considered to be some of the most complex and well-structured in the world such as Pinot Noir, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Grenache. This is why rosé offers a perfect balance of earthiness and structure often associated with red wine, while also being fruit-forward and clean on the finish similar to a crisp California white wine.
Food and wine savvy match: California-style Gazpacho
This wonderful white varietal is a close cousin to Grenache, which is where it garners many of its complex characteristics. Grenache Blanc is a well-balanced dry white wine with a medium to full body, slightly high acidity, and subdued tannins.
These characteristics accompanied by aromas of fresh white flowers, white peach, and hints of orange and sweet cherry make it the perfect wine to sip during a warm afternoon on the porch or in the yard. With crisp tasting notes of lemon, lemon zest, and a fresh minerality resulting in a refreshingly clean finish. Grenache Blanc also pairs nicely with outdoor foods synonymous with summer, like grilled fish and vegetables. We count Grenache Blanc as one of our favorite Washington state wines.
Food and wine savvy match: Sole à la Meunière
Of all the white wine varietals, Chardonnay is among the most popular in large part because it is also among the most dynamic. Depending on the AVA in which the grapes are grown and harvested, the method used by the winemaker, and the way those grapes are aged, you can have two wines that are total opposites in flavor, texture, and structure even though they are both considered Chardonnay. That means Chardonnay is the ideal warm weather wine, a chameleon and offers something for everyone.
Are you looking for a full-bodied white wine, with a complex stem structure, flavors of tart apple, lemon zest, and baking spices, with a long buttery finish? Chardonnay. Or are you searching for something a bit crisper and lighter that is more citrus fruit-forward with hints of starfruit and a clean finish? Great! Chardonnay it is! With something to fit everyone’s palate, Chardonnay is truly sunshine in a glass and also pairs very nicely with most summertime favorites. For a real treat check out Oregon Chardonnay from our favorite small – production wineries.
Food and wine savvy match: Sunshine pasta salad
Sparkling wines are generally thought of as celebratory and should be saved to use for toasts and congratulations. We believe that any day is an occasion for a glass of bubbly, but especially those warm days that just exude happiness.
Along with northern California, Oregon has become a powerhouse for sparkling wine. From Brut to Blanc de Noirs, and sparkling rosé, Oregon winemakers are utilizing their terroir which is perfect for growing grapes native to Burgundy, as well as using classic Champagne methods to create some of the most complex, well-rounded, and flavor-forward sparkling wines.
Traditional sparkling wines are produced from a combination of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, and Chardonnay. A Blanc de Noirs is an example of sparkling that comes from only black grapes, like Pinot Noir and retains many of the characteristics of that variety. With a pale straw color, Oregon Blanc de Noirs contains scents of stone fruit, red fruit, sweet herbs, gram crackers, and baking spices. On the palate, you’ll notice ripe strawberries with lemon cream followed by orange cream and blossoms, and finally, a crisp finish that balances the entire glass perfectly.
Sparkling Brut, while similar in the overall structure to Blanc de Noirs, contains aromas of green apple and pear with flavors including lemon and lemon curd, in addition to white flowers and orange rind. These wines may be similar in structure since both are dry with high acidity and medium-full bodies, but they are very different in overall flavor profiles. The good news is, you cannot go wrong with either, so why not try both? These sparkling white wines are the absolute embodiment of sunny day sips!
Food and wine savvy match: Crab Tostadas
Be sure to shop our top wines for your sunny day sips and keep your tastebuds buzzing all season long. Cheers!