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Best Wines to Drink During Summer 2022

Beat the heat with these 12 bottles

Janice Williams By June 24, 2022
wine bottles on a beach
Bottle collage by Pix

James Cadariu can’t get rosé to customers quickly enough when the heat is on. Most nights at Ladder 4 Wine, the Detroit wine bar Cadariu owns, it seems as soon as he pours out one bottle of rosé, he has to reach for a new one.

“We always have a well-stocked cellar full of rosé, white, and sparkling wines. But by the summer, when everyone starts to gravitate towards rosé, we really have to keep up with our supply,” says Cadariu.

Rosé isn’t the only wine worth drinking this summer — white, sparkling, and even chilled reds are on the menu too. But there’s no doubt that the rosé juggernaut isn’t showing any signs of slowing down.

Crushing on rosé

Over in New York City, Vergel San Miguel, who runs the day-to-day operations at Temperance Wine Bar, has noticed it, too.

“Once the temperature breaks 80 degrees, it’s like all people want to drink is rosé. We have magnum bottles of the Peyrassol rosé from Provence here, and usually, within an hour of opening it, it’s gone. It’ll be one table of people who go through the entire magnum bottle,” San Miguel says. 

A wine style first made famous in Provence, France, the pale pink, crisp, and easy-drinking wine is synonymous with sunny days spent at the pool. And if the #RoséAllDay pictures and videos of bottles flooding Instagram timelines aren’t enough to show rosé’s seasonal popularity, its sales certainly are.  

In 2021, rosé sales in the first quarter were $144 million, while sales for the second quarter spiked to $216 million, according to Nielsen

This comes as no surprise to the people serving it, who can see it flying out the door firsthand. But for those who want to have a glass of rosé, but don’t have a sommelier handy, the solution is simple — dive into one of these bottles.

But remember to leave some space in the refrigerator for the whites and sparkling wines too. More on those in a moment.

3 rosés to try:

bottle of Dúzsi Tamás Hungary Kékfrankos Rosé

Dúzsi Tamás Kékfrankos Szekszárd Rosé (~$15)

Produced in the Szekszárd region of Hungary, this salmon pink rosé is crisp and dry at first sip. Made with the light, zingy Blaufränkisch grapes that grow so well in Hungary and Austria, the wine exudes red pomegranate and citrus aromas. The palate is sprinkled with hints of spice and clean minerality, while the finish is round and juicy.

bottle of Peyrassol Côtes de Provence Cuvee des Commandeurs Rosé

Peyrassol Provence Cuvée des Commandeurs Rosé (~$23)

Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah, and Rolle from the South of France are blended to create this lively and expressive rosé. With its pale pink hue and intense wild berry aromas, this wine is fresh with energetic acidity on the palate, complemented by strawberry, citrus, and floral flavors. The finish is long and memorable, with notes of orange blossom.

bottle of Domaine de Marquiliani Corse Rosé Gris

Domaine de Marquiliani Vin de Corse Rosé Gris (~$32)

This rosé hails from the Corsica region of France. Sciaccarellu is the predominant grape variety used here, though there is also a splash of Syrah included. Nearly transparent in color, this rosé is bursting with aromas of citrus and peach, while the palate radiates with minerality and sea spray nuances. Lively acidity and a long, stony finish bring it all together.

Seek out light, low-alcohol white wines

Rosé isn’t the only wine that can help beat the heat.

“I love Riesling in the summer, especially low-alcohol bottles like, for instance, a Mosel Riesling,” says San Miguel. “It’s refreshing but has a little bit of sweetness.”

The intense aromatics and high acid of Riesling can leave drinkers feeling cool and captivated, says San Miguel. “The alcohol is very manageable for most Rieslings. I call it a breakfast wine. If you drink it in the morning, you’ll be fine,” adding that drinkers should look for bottles with an alcohol volume lower than 10% as those tend to be on the light-bodied side.   

Then there’s Sauvignon Blanc, with its lean body and racy acidity.The wines can offer fruit flavors from gooseberry to grapefruit and passionfruit, depending on the country and region where the grapes are grown. Sauvignon Blanc’s signature green and herbal nuances make it a standout wine for cooling down on a hot day, says San Miguel. 

Montana Rae Neiley, a sommelier and founder of The Wine Ship in Denver, Colorado, on the other hand, says she loves to get people out of their comfort zone by introducing them to styles and varieties they may not have had before. “Instead of Sauvignon Blanc, I’m pouring a white blend from Bordeaux. Instead of Chardonnay, I’m pouring Chenin Blanc from South Africa,” she says. 

Meanwhile, Cadariu plans to spend his summer enjoying Spanish white wine

“I am completely obsessed with Envínate’s Palo Blanc from the Canary Islands. It’s by a group of Spanish friends making wine in the Canary Islands and mainland Spain,” says Cadariu of the wine made from 100-year-old Listan Blanc grapes. “It’s savory, minty, lemony, and fleshy. Just what I want in a summer wine.”

3 white wines to try:

bottle of Aveleda Alvarinho Loureiro Blend Vinho Verde

Aveleda Alvarinho Loureiro Blend Vinho Verde (~$12)

This wine is made from a blend of Loureiro and Alvarinho grown in the Vinho Verde DOC of Portugal. It’s a critical favorite, winning a score of 92 points by Decanter magazine. A pale yellow color, the wine offers fresh aromas and flavors of citrus fruits and florals. High acidity keeps it feeling zippy.

bottle of Quivira Sonoma County Sauvignon Blanc

Quivira Vineyards Dry Creek Valley Sauvignon Blanc (~$19)

Now here’s a mouthwatering Sauvignon Blanc to keep your palate happy all summer. Made in Sonoma County, this wine is expressive and fresh with striking lemon, pineapple, and peach characteristics that appear intensely in aroma and on the palate. The light-bodied wine is framed with vibrant acidity, while the finish is clean and fresh.

bottle of Artomaña Txakoli Spain Txakolina Xarmant

Artomaña Txakolina 'Xarmant' Spain Txakoli (~$21)

This bright, zesty, and dry white wine comes from Spain’s coastal Basque Country region. Sustainably-farmed Hondarribi Zuri, Gros Manseng, and Petit Courbu grapes are used to create a charming wine that displays a slight effervescence with herbaceous and citrus notes.

And now for the sparkling wines

“There’s always a call for bubbly this time of year,” says Neiley.

Some drinkers may find the persistent tingle of Champagne irresistible in the summer, but other styles of sparkling wine can provide just as much joy for a fraction of the price. 

“The Trento DOC in Italy is an amazing region that produces the same quality of sparkling wines as some winemakers in Champagne, and they use the same varieties. Germany also has really nice sparkling Rieslings that can keep you feeling cool and refreshed in the summer,” says San Miguel.

Other bubbly styles to look out for? Cava from Spain and Prosecco from Italy offer refreshing effervescence, and crisp and clean fruit nuances.

“I always say, when in doubt, drink sparkling wine,” says San Miguel.

4 sparkling wines to try:

bottle of Sulin Naufragar Malvasia di Casorzo Malvasia Nera Sparkling Red

Sulin Naufragar Piedmont Rosso (~$17)

Instead of eating dessert, why not drink it with this ruby red, sweet, and fruity sparkling wine? Made with Malvasia Nera grapes from the Piedmont region of Italy, this wine is luscious with  red fruit aromas and flavors backed with bright acidity and a sweet cherry pie finish.

bottle of Monte Rio Cellars Pinkette California Piquette

Monte Rio Cellars Pinkette California Piquette (~$23)

This blend of Gamay, Trousseau Noir, and Trousseau Gris is a refreshing way to beat the heat. Made with California fruit, this easy-drinking wine is a fizzy and funky strawberry and rhubarb flavor bomb packed with fresh acidity. The ripe fruit is noticeable in every whiff, while the lip-smacking finish will leave you thirsty for another sip.

bottle of Cesarini Sforza Trento DOC Brut

Cesarini Sforza Spumante Metodo Trentino-Alto Adige Classico Brut (~$34)

This bright golden sparkling wine hails from the Alto Adige region of Italy. Made with 100% Chardonnay, the wine features intense aromas of citrus fruits and white flowers, while the palate is dotted with complex nuances of crusty brioche and almond. The medium-bodied wine is creamy with a lingering finish and elegant bubbles that are persistent in the glass.

bottle of Charles Heidsieck Brut Réserve

Charles Heidsieck Champagne Brut Réserve (~$54)

Pure and elegant, this Champagne is made with Pinot Noir, Meunier and Chardonnay grapes. Aromas of candied ginger, honey, and coconut shavings make the wine complex and memorable. The palate is alluring with lively acidity and lemon and toasted brioche nuances. The finish is long, clean, and mouthwatering.

Don’t overlook the reds

Even in the peak of summer, there’s a place for red wine on the table. The key is to look for lighter varieties with solid acidity that aren’t full of overbearing tannins. Such reds are best served chilled. 

One example is Gamay, the famous thin-skinned red grape of Beaujolais, France. Pinot Noir, which can display plenty of cherry nuances and earthy characteristics, is another French variety experts turn to during the summer. 

Cadariu is a big fan of pale red and complex Poulsard from the Jura region of France. However, the wine director admits he’ll be aligning his summer red wine with his picks for white and sticking to wine from Spain. 

“I love Listan Negro wines from the Canary Islands,” says Cadariu. “They are easy to drink wines with lots of acid and salinity from the volcanic and oceanic influences of that unique place.”

Also consider Italy. “Brachetto from Piedmont is very nice in the summer. It has that lovely rosé smell, and it’s very light,” says San Miguel. 

2 red wines to try:

bottle of Cherries & Rainbows Sans Soufre France Red Blend

Cherries & Rainbows Organic Sans Soufre France Red Blend (~$19)

This organic and biodynamically made wine tastes a lot like its name suggests: like cherries and rainbows. Made with Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre, it’s light-bodied and soft with ripe red fruit flavors that lead the aroma, while the palate is balanced with red and black cherry, spice, and earthy notes. Herbal nuances and supple tannins appear throughout. Give this one a chill before drinking.

bottle of Stolpman Ballard Canyon California La Cuadrilla Red Blend

Stolpman Vineyards La Cuadrilla Ballard Canyon Red (~$23)

From the Ballard Canyon region of California’s Central Coast, not far from Santa Barbara, comes this blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre. More on the medium-bodied side, this wine smells of red and black berries, while the palate offers crunchy, juicy cranberry notes. A hint of black pepper spice and mint give it an edge. The finish lingers nicely.