Summer Wine Picks From A Winemaker

By Winemaker Matt 
In: Entertaining

The weather is getting hot this week and I’m starting to shift the wines I drink.  Like many people, I am a seasonal wine drinker. In the colder months, I lean toward the hearty, red wines like Cabernet or Syrah. When the weather turns hot, I naturally move my selections to lighter, crisper white wines.

Winemakers, for the most part, are a different breed of wine drinker.  Many of my cohorts like wines that are more tannic than the average wine drinker, in the case of reds, and wines that are more acidic, in the case of whites.

But maybe I’ve always been that way.

I remember working at a fine-dining restaurant while in college and really loving an Italian Gavi di Gavi that was so zippy that it was nearly effervescent because the carbon dioxide was so high.  My other tendency in this season is to pick up a bunch of Vinho Verde from Portugal.  These “green wines” are picked before the sugar gets very high at all, so the wine is all about the freshness and acidity.  It’s something like drinking a well-balanced glass of lemon juice.  Lower in alcohol than most wines, Vinho Verdes make for great sippers in the summer heat.

Luckily for me, Kendall-Jackson offers a number of really terrific summer refreshers.  I’m a huge fan of the Vintner’s Reserve Sauvignon Blanc; it has just the right balance of texture and acidity to go with summer salads and seafood.  I’m also really keen on the Grand Reserve Sauvignon Blanc.  Crisper and more mineral-driven than its Vintner’s Reserve cousin, it is a perfect complement to lighter fare.

I’m really enjoying Avant Chardonnay, our new entry into the white wine portfolio.  Minimally oaked, this Chardonnay offers a great alternative to the creamier, barrel-fermented style, and is wonderful with lobster and avocado salad. Wherever I’ve poured this wine people love it.

Finally, I hate to brag, but Sonoma County is one of the greatest places on Earth.  We are blessed with sunny, warm weather throughout the summer.  We have very low humidity, and with the Pacific Coast so near, we have cooling breezes that make the evening temperatures just perfect for outdoor barbecues.  And when I think barbecue, I think Summation Red.  It’s the perfect summertime accompaniment for burgers or tri-tip.

The temperature is supposed to hit 90° this afternoon.  I’ve got a tri-tip in the fridge.  I know what I’m having tonight.  Cheers!