Sipping Summer Wines

By HOLLY ENDERSBY

Now that the warm days and long twilights of summer are here, we can relax with a wonderful glass of wine on the deck or patio. This is also the time to relax the rule on room temperature reds and enjoy the cooling pleasure of lightly chilled ones, along with some delightfully refreshing whites and rosé.

A red that compliments summer cookouts is the 2016 Dark Horse Merlot, and I enjoy it slightly cooled.

This wine is robust and pairs fabulously with grilled burgers topped with pungent, melted cheese, bratwurst, and marinated, grilled steak. The intense “jammy” flavors of dark berries and a touch of toasted oak with a bit of spice goes great with outdoor cooking.

It’s easy to find in Rite Aid stores, where it is an exceptional buy.

For some reason, merlot has taken back stage to other reds, but I find the smoothness of merlot is perfect for many food pairings. This particular wine is blended with petite sirah, petit verdot and Dornfelder, to achieve its lush taste and lovely, lingering finish.

Serve this Dark Horse merlot slightly chilled on a hot summer night, and you won’t be disappointed.

When you decide on a chilled white wine to go with grilled salmon or shrimp kabobs, nothing could be better than a 2015 Acacia chardonnay from the Sonoma area of California. This is a balanced wine with soft aromas of pear and apples and a suggestion of tropical fruits.

Not heavily oaked, this wine stands on its own and is a distinctive chardonnay that complements intensely flavored food like salmon and shrimp.

I find many whites lacking in depth and substance, leaving me with a watered-down impression, but this Acacia is full-bodied and simply delicious. The 2015 I tried is actually Acacia’s lowest priced chardonnay and does not sport the “Caneros” distinction on the label. I am definitely buying more of this wine to offer throughout the summer to discerning guests.

Another summer white is a 2016 Bogle sauvignon blanc. It’s is crisp with a lovely, balanced taste and a smooth, elegant finish. When a wine is described as “crisp,” it usually means it has refreshing acidity and is most often associated with white wines. This crispness makes it perfect for summer enjoyment. The light, fruity aroma is subtle, with just a suggestion of a yeasty undertone.

I can’t imagine serving grilled fish tacos with a wine more suited to casual summer dining than this Sauvignon Blanc.

Serve this wine slightly chilled, and you will enjoy every sip. Easy to find and easy on the budget, this is a wine that won’t disappoint.

Finally, summer calls for a great rosé and the 2016 Campuget can’t be beat for the price of around $10.

This lovely wine is on the dry side, which our tasters enjoyed immensely. Some rosé wines are overly sweet, but this delicious French import has tempered that sweetness to just within the range of a dry wine and is simply fabulous with grilled chicken and vegetables or on its own during a hot summer afternoon.

I found it at my local wine shop, but you can ask the wine buyer at your grocery store to carry it as well: it’s truly a crowd pleaser, and other shoppers will be delighted to discover it. MSN

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