Michael Bray

{standaloneHead}Michael Bray{/standaloneHead}

Sometimes the bouquet of a wine will remind us of the season, and other times we simply need something to appropriately quench our thirst on a hot day! Just like food pairings, there are seasonal “weather pairings” and here we look at five hot summer wine trends.

1. Vinho Verde [VEE-nyoh VEHR-deh] is a light and thirst quenching dry white wine from Portugal. The name literally translates to “green wine” — referring to its fresh, floral and fruity youthfulness. The wine tends to be acidic, which delivers a delightful effervescence in the glass. Perfect for the summertime heat, they only average between 7 to 10 percent alcohol (looking for sweetness with low alcohol, try a Moscato). Lastly, while it is commonplace to ask for a bottle Vinho Verde, it is important to note that Vinho Verde refers to the place in the Minho wine region of Portugal. The actual grape varieties that make up this wine are Alvarinho, Loureiro and Trajadura. Check out Circle Liquor in Somers Point.

2. Sauvignon Blanc: One of the six noble grapes of the world, this varietal needs little to no introduction. Its popularity continues to soar during the summer season for its racy, flinty, grassy, herbaceous, thirst-quenching acidity. However, what may surprise you is the wide spectrum of flavor it delivers, depending on where it’s grown — California, New Zealand, Bordeaux, France — but one of the hottest regions right now is Sancerre in Loire Valley, France. The wines of Sancerre deliver a seamless experience of fruit, minerality and (balanced) tart acidity and offer a stunning food pairing to most all seafood and shellfish. A good Sancerre will start at $17 per bottle. Check out Boulevard Super Liquors of Marmora.

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3. Rosé all day: You can’t escape it — it’s pink, it’s dry and it’s pushing people to drink (and think) different. Forever ago, if you were drinking pink, it was sweet and white zin! Now, we’re drinking pink, dry wine from just about every wine producing region in the world … and loving it! You’ll find it in a box, a can and even a 40-oz bottle! If you visit Steve & Cookie’s restaurant In Margate on a Tuesday, you’ll find all rosé half off! Now that is a great deal!

4. Red Sangria, “Summerthyme:” Is it wine? Is it a cocktail? Is it dry or sweet? Well, depending on how you make it, it can be all of the above. Our most popular at Passion Vines this summer is called “Summerthyme.” Layer fruit in a large jar or bowl. Pour in Chambord and juice and stir. Add wine (try Argentine Malbec or Spanish Garnacha) and stir. Refrigerate overnight, or at least eight hours. Stir together sugar and pepper. Dampen glass with orange juice and dip in mixture. Ladle into rimmed glassware and garnish with a sprig of thyme. Hit with bitters!

1 ½ c. raspberries

¼ c. cracked pepper

1 orange, sliced and halved

¼ c. raw sugar

½ c. orange juice

fresh thyme sprigs

½ c. Chambord 1 bottle Trilogie Malbec

Woodford Reserve Chocolate Bitters

5. White Sangria, “Tropic Thunder:” Layer fruit in a large jar or bowl. Pour in Caravella and stir. Let sit at least 30 minutes. Add wine and stir. Refrigerate overnight, or at least eight hours. Ladle into rimmed glassware and garnish with a sprig of mint. If desired, rim glass with a mixture of equal parts chili powder and sugar.

1 c. mango

cubed fresh mint leaves

1 prange, sliced and halved

1 bottle Cielo Rosé

1 c. pineapple

cubed chili powder

1 c. Caravella Limoncello

raw sugar

I hope you’re inspired to drink something different. As always, please feel free to drop me a line (michael@passionvines.com) to share your experience.

Cheers, Michael

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