Summer Sips: A Guide to Red, White, and Rosé

Pairing the perfect wines with Galveston’s summer vibes - your ultimate guide to wine enjoyment

By Sandra Crittenden
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As summer heats up, try to stay cool with some refreshing red, white, and rosé, all made in the U.S.A. It’s a perfect way to celebrate Independence Day or any summer day. Lighter-weight wines that can stand up to a good chill are the top wine picks to stay refreshed as the hotter months begin. 

 Bubbles are always a good start for any celebration and more sparkling wines are being produced now than ever. Many Champagne houses have invested in new world outposts so enjoying a wine made by the knowledge we gained from France, our Revolutionary War ally, is an easy way to please a crowd or a party of two.  

Try Piper Sonoma Brut from California. It’s related to Piper-Heidsieck in Champagne and is smooth and dry with a creamy texture and delicate bubbles. 

 Placeholder imageOr open a bottle of Gruet Brut Rosé, affiliated with Gruet et Fils in Champagne but produced in New Mexico. This zesty sparkler has cherry/berry and floral nuances. 

 Both of these effervescent wines will get the celebration started at a more budget-friendly price than their European counterparts. They are priced under $20 and easy to find locally. 

 Sidenote for sparkling enthusiasts: If a Hill Country excursion is on the summer agenda, bubble lovers will find several new sparkling options out there on the wine trail. 

 These include the more rustic Petillant Naturale (Pet-Nat style to many) new traditional champagne method. These are small-production wines that are primarily available only in the tasting room and to club members. 

 When the heat hits hard, a chilled glass of white from a cool climate region hits the spot. The Brooks Willamette Valley Pinot Blanc brings the flavors of summer to the glass with a food-friendly structure. It has fruit notes of cantaloupe and peach, with a cool mineral freshness that pairs well with seafood, poultry, or pasta. 

Or choose a fresh and lively Willamette Chardonnay like the Lavinea Chardonnay from the Eola-Amity subregion for a bright and juicy burst of stone-fruit and citrus, perfect for light seafood dinners. 

 Placeholder imageRosé all day is a good plan for any day in July and should often be repeated. Ice down some bottles of pink to enjoy while watching the same shades of an island sunset. 

 Rosé can be made from any red skinned grape or blend of grapes, so it is easy to find great American examples. Pick wines from Santa Barbara, California to Columbia Valley, Washington as well as here in the Lone Star state, where both blends and single variety versions are flourishing. 

 Stolpman Para Maria Rosé is a classic blend of Mourvedre and Grenache from Santa Barbara County that evokes ripe summer watermelon through the crisp, clean finish. 

 A “kitchen sink” blend of Grenache, Malbec, Tempranillo, and Sangiovese make up the Hearst Ranch “Julia” Rosé from Paso Robles where they easily harmonize in a fresh mix of strawberry, grapefruit, and tropical notes. 

 McPherson Les Copains Texas High Plains Rosé is a great choice to compare to these West Coast options. It is made in the Provence style with raspberry, lemon, and hints of rose petals in the dry finish. 

 Living in Texas means red meat and red wine are always in season, no matter what weather is projected. 

 The Monticello Napa Valley Cabernet Franc is a textured and intense red wine with mixed berries and baking spice aromas and flavors dominating the glass. Becker Vineyards Texas GSM is a Rhone style blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre that's soft and bright with raspberries and black pepper. 

 Both of these wines are delicious with grilled steaks or smoked brisket. Both wines can also handle a slight chill to make them more enjoyable when cooking outside. 

 It's always easy to escape the heat and step back inside to enjoy a lush red served at traditional cellar temperature in the cool comfort of an air-conditioned home. But, if you enjoy outside dining on patios and decks overlooking the Gulf Coast, try some of these all-American lighter-style wines to beat the heat during the dog days of summer. 

 When it comes to wine temperature, remember suggested serving temperatures are just that, suggestions. If imbibing outside on a hot day, an overchilled wine is going to be more enjoyable than an under-chilled wine. 

 Of course, when drinking wine or any alcoholic beverage in the heat, make sure to consume plenty of water as well. Cheers to summertime.