The Inside Story from Italian Wine Merchants

Wines for Summer’s Sultry Belly

Posted on | July 11, 2011 | Written by Janice Cable | No Comments

Remember winter?

It’s the sultry belly of the summer, and if you’re in the greater New York City area—or most of the country, really—you’re most likely hot, sticky, sweaty and feeling deeply nostalgic about winter. When it’s this hot out, I find it hard to make decisions. Even figuring out which ingredients to include in my inevitable dinner salad feels like an insurmountable chore. This is why I have a few wines that I gravitate to and keep on hand for the days when I just can’t think about what to eat, wear, do, watch or drink.

The good news is that even while pairing wines to the hot, hot heat may feel as bothersome as getting dressed, the wines that go best with sticky temperatures (and food that’s friendly with sticky weather) tend to be, well, kind of cheap. When the weather is oppressive, you don’t want a big, brooding Barolo, a wine that requires contemplation and study, a wine that weighs heavily on the palate. The time for those wines will come, but the summer gives you the opportunity to take a walk on the uncomplicated side.

This past weekend, I had this Nero d’Avola and Merlot blend from organic winery Buceci. I really can’t say enough good stuff about it—the wine worked amazingly well with the assortment of food off the grill; not only did the shishito peppers gain a piquant tang, but so too did the grilled scallop salad. I also had this Movia Ribolla with a brunch of wild blueberry pancakes and organic bacon. We were out of my go-to sparkler by Frecciarossa, and as it turned out, the Ribolla’s vibrant dance of floral aromatics and salt-stained fruit made a really nice counterpart to the brunch.

If you’re looking for wines that make for easy-peasy summer drinking, it’s hard to find anything better than Barbera d’Alba for the grill; I had this one from Bovia with a dinner of surf and turf, and its acidity made the flavors of both the flank steak and the lobster tails dance a happy jig. Likewise, Frappato has this balsamic vinegar and strawberry profile that makes it fantastic either for lighter grilled fare, and the fact that it’s equally good slightly chilled makes it wicked flexible. It’s tough to go wrong with any of the whites from De Conciliis in Campania. One good rule of thumb is that if you’re drinking wine in hot weather, choosing a wine from a region whose weather is hot will get you a good wine for hot weather.

If you’re still lost, you can always lock yourself in air-conditioned comfort and avail yourself of our online sales help. Modern conveniences are so very, well, convenient.

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