Haven’t found the perfect warm weather wine yet? With a few more months of tan lines, ice cream trucks, and garden parties to look forward to, it’s time to look for thirst-quenching approved wine. What exactly can you look for? Think soft tannins, fresh acidity, and fruit-forward.
If you need an example of how spring, summer (and even fall depending on where you live), wines should taste, look to the Italians. For centuries, winemakers there have perfected the art of crafting wines that pair perfectly with warm weather. Maybe it’s all the inspiration they draw from staring out into the Mediterranean Sea, but winemakers up and down the boot-shaped country are able to create summertime wines of all styles. These six bottles are perfect to sip on the porch while imagining the splendor of Italy’s coastline or to serve at your next backyard barbecue.
Cantina Mesa Giunco
For the perfect seafood pairing, look to Cantina Mesa’s Giunco for its refreshing acidity. Originating in the sandy soils of the southwestern coastal tip of Sardina’s Valley of Porto Pino, Giunco shows a hint of sea foam saltiness left over from the Mediterranean Sea breezes in every glass. Winemakers use 100 percent Vermentino grapes — one of Italy’s favorite white grapes — to produce the wine. Not only are the light-skinned grapes resistant to the island’s long, hot summers, but they are also known for producing aromatic, light- to medium-bodied, and refreshing wines.
The grapes are manually harvested at the end of August before fermenting in a stainless-steel tank. The result is a medium-body white wine with intense citrus zest, white-fleshed fruit, and hints of fresh herb notes on the nose. Vermentino is one of the few wines that pairs well with artichoke. For the next friend’s potluck invite, whip up a serving of a spinach-artichoke dip, grab a bottle of chilled Giunco, and call it a day.
Kettmeir Pinot Grigio Alto Adige D.O.C.
If you’re looking for a Pinot Grigio that stands out, look no further than the elegant Kettmeir Pinot Grigio. There is no better representation of what the perfect Italian Pinot Grigio should taste like than Kettmeir’s Pinot Grigio Alto Adige D.O.C. Like all of the wines in Kettmeir’s portfolio, this Pinot Grigio is produced in Italy’s northernmost winemaking area of Alto Adige at the foothills of the Dolomites and the Rhaetian Alps. Kettmeir is one of the leading names in Alto Adige’s venerable wine tradition. The region’s various soils, combined with the brisk Alpine climate and long sunny days, foster the ideal environment to grow the Pinot Bianco, Pinot Grigio, and Müller-Thurgau grape varieties.
The Pinot Grigio grapes are harvested on a hillside along the valleys of Val d’Adige and Oltradige. This straw-yellow wine has a nose that integrates classic pear and apple fragrances with elegant hints of white flowers and citrus. The mouth-watering, fruity palate with vivid acidity and a mineral-driven finish makes it a versatile wine that excels when placed alongside fish, seafood-based pasta, or grilled white meats. The wine’s bright acidity balances out the heat from food, meaning Pinot Grigio also pairs surprisingly well with spicy dishes.
Kettmeir Pinot Bianco Alto Adige D.O.C.
Another summertime favorite is Kettmeir’s Pinot Bianco. Grown in the hillsides of Oltradige, the cool continental Alpine climate with significant day-night temperature variations produces grapes with fresh acidity. On the nose, the light gold-colored wine hints at floral fragrances and green apples. The medium-bodied, dry wine offers pleasant textural complexity and delicate minerality. Unoaked and vivid with a long finish, Kettmeir’s Pinot Bianco works wonderfully with crab cakes, duck confit empanadas, and roasted chicken. The wine’s minerality and medium weight make it enjoyable on its own, too. If you’re looking for a poolside sipper, this is it.
Kettmeir Müller-Thurgau Alto Adige D.O.C.
If you’re a fan of Gewürztraminer, be sure to try its lighter, more flowery friend, Müller-Thurgau. This wine boasts more citrus blossom aromas than its German counterpart and is sure to be a welcome addition to your wine collection. The grapes are grown in the high slopes of the Soprabolzano zone near the snow-capped mountains of the Alps and Dolomites. The mountains protect the region from cold winds and rain, giving the vines 300 days a year of sunshine.
Complex notes of white peach and white pear, citrus, and mountain flowers lead to a dry palate with a strong backbone of bright acidity and a clean finish. Fresh and full with a lengthy palate, Kettmeir’s Müller Thurgau pairs beautifully with seafood risottos, grilled fish, and any fried foods. The fresh expression complements spiced dishes like vegetable tagine or braised Moroccan chicken.
Cantina Mesa Buio
Even if you’re a ride-or-die red wine drinker, there’s no reason to fear the warmer months. Despite popular opinion, you absolutely can drink red wine in the heat — you just have to choose wisely. Look for a red with soft tannins, light to medium body, and fruit-forwardness. If that’s too hard to remember, just pick up a bottle of Cantina Mesa Buio to see what we mean.
Hailing from the Sulcis region in southern Sardinia, Buio is an easy-drinking red wine. Grown along the coastal belt in the Valley of Porto Pino, the salty marine breeze refreshes the grapevines, adding vivacity to the Carignano grape’s flavor. With its smooth fruitiness, brightness, and savory tannins, Buio is best when lightly chilled. Made with the deep red Carignano grape, the grape’s inky color belies a hearty wine. However, vintners at Cantina Mesa choose not to age the wine in oak, resulting in a structured, fruit-forward wine. Buio is the bottle you bring when invited to a backyard barbecue full of grilled meats, cheeseburgers, and sausages.
Masi Bonacosta Valpolicella Classico
Produced in the hilly Valpolicella region, Masi Bonacosta Valpolicella Classico is made from three distinct grape varieties: Corvina (which provides body, delicate aromas, and characteristic hints of ripe cherries), Rondinella (which provides tannic structure, color, and a refined bouquet), and Molinara (which provides freshness and spiciness).
Traditionally, Valpolicella is a very approachable, easy-drinking red wine — and Bonacosta is no exception. The delicate tannins, refreshing acidity, smooth palate, and fruity finish make it the perfect bottle to pack for a picnic at the park, day by the lake, or even a perfect red for brunch. This wine can be enjoyed at cellar temperature or chilled if it is warm outside. The fresh palate offers mouthfuls of wild cherry, red fruit, and raspberry. It can stand alone as a beach or lake sipper, but it is equally delicious when paired with bites like charcuterie, grilled or roasted chicken, and grilled meat tacos.
No matter how you enjoy your warm weather months, whether you’re spending it at the Mediterranean Sea (or just daydreaming about it), poolside, or in the comfort of your air-conditioned living room, there’s a wine to help refresh and inspire you — cheers to that.
This article is sponsored by Santa Margherita USA.