Best Wines for Summer Celebrations and Everyday Meals
Summer days bring warm temperatures, lots of sun, and cold beverages. Many people give up their favorite red wine for the lighter bodied, chill-friendly white wines and bubblies. But hot days and warm nights doesn’t mean you have to give up the red entirely—especially when it goes so well with many grilled foods.
Red Wines for Summer
When you fire up the grill and steak is on the menu, go ahead and reach for your favorite Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Zinfandel, or Malbec. These wines stand up well to beef and pair perfectly with the smoky, charred flavor. Syrah also pairs well with pork barbecue and grilled turkey burgers for those who prefer these lighter meats. And though it’s not usually considered with dessert, serve an Australian Shiraz with sweet cupcakes or cake for an indulgent treat.
Be sure to serve these wines at around 60-65 degrees F—which means you can chill them for around 10 minutes in your fridge on a warm day.
Pinot Noir pairs nicely with meaty grilled tuna steaks or grilled Portobello mushrooms, but have you had it with dark chocolate ice cream? Try it for a decadent summer treat. Serve your Pinot Noir at a temp between 55- and 60-degrees F; you can usually chill it in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes prior to serving to reach its ideal temperature.
Summer White Wines
Light, bright white wines beg to be chilled just a little longer, which is refreshing on a hot summer day. Sauvignon blanc, Chardonnay, and Chenin blanc prefer to be served at 45-50 degrees, so let them linger in your refrigerator for 30 to 40 minutes before serving.
Both these wines and Chardonnay match up well with grilled chicken, seafood, and other light summer meals. If you’re serving a dish that’s rich with smoky bacon, try serving a Chardonnay—its fruity acidity helps balance the fatty, salty meat. And Riesling, though slightly on the sweet side, goes surprisingly well with spicy tacos, guacamole, and even buffalo-style chicken wings.
Rosé All Day
Cheeses, light salads, and pasta go great with a dry rosé. It’s become a favorite summer wine since its best temperature for serving is between 40- and 50-degrees F. Reach for a chilled rosé when serving briny shellfish like shrimp or oysters for a refreshing balance in taste.
This is one wine that you can serve with almost every course since it also matches well with Mediterranean foods, summer veggie dishes, and desserts. We recommend trying a sparkling rosé with your sushi or sashimi instead of sake—the fruity taste goes so well with rice and seafood.
Sparkling Wine for a Warm Day
Summer fun calls for sparkling wines in tall, fluted glasses. Serve them at a chill 45 degrees F, which requires about 40 minutes in your dual-drawer refrigerator. Pair them with cheese dishes, cream sauces, Asian foods, salty sausages, grilled chicken with tangy sauces, and almost anything deep fried.
One favorite combination is serving Prosecco with a charcuterie board. Salty meats, olives, and nuts followed up with a bubbly, fruity Prosecco is a delicious combination. Both Prosecco and Champagne pair well with many foods, though, and shouldn’t be saved only for special occasions. Make any summer meal a celebration when you serve it with a cool, sparkling wine.