Welcome to New England summer, which, as I type, looks like late fall. I’m keeping the faith. The sun’s bound to show itself soon. Speaking of weather, I’ve noticed that many casual wine consumers adhere to this simple rule: blustery reds are for cold months, while refreshing whites are for warm months.
It’s a solid rule, but what do you do if you don’t enjoy any white varietals? You’re in luck, actually. The rule is more malleable than you think. There are a few worthwhile options, all of which will keep you drinking till Labor Day.
Pinot noir tends to be fruity and light, so it’s perfectly suited for this purpose, especially bottles from Oregon or Washington. Unfortunately, pinots can get pricey, so it’s not ideal for nightly consumption. Try Beaujolais, a Burgundian wine made from the Gamay grape. Perhaps you’re familiar with their Nouveau style, which comes out every Thanksgiving. Their other styles – which are easier on your wallet – are available year-round.
How about rosé? By which I don’t mean White Zinfandel. I mean those finally crafted pink wines that everybody (from revered French houses to irreverent American startups) tries making. Don’t assume that all rosé is sickly sweet: in fact, they run the same spectrum of sweetness as whites and reds. Talk to your local wine expert, who can show you styles that have the body of a red, but refresh like a white.
Finally, let’s talk about barbecue wines. Barbecued food typically consists of smoky, fatty meats, against which nothing but big reds stand up; so here’s your chance to indulge in that category. Take a walk down the Portuguese aisle. They produce some of the world’s best values, many of which retail for less than $15 but compare favorably to French wines which sell for double the price. Good varietals include malbec, shiraz and zinfandel. You can even get away with cabernet.
As always, though, trust your local wine expert. It’s their job to find the bottle that suits your taste. And if you want to, you should drink heavy reds all summer long. Your palette should be more of a guideline than any so-called rule. Now, if only the sun would show itself.