The warmth. The sweet summer smells. The time spent outside with friends and family. There’s much to look forward to in summer, and finding the right wines to help complement this season is nothing short of a must. What are the best wines to enjoy this summer? What makes a wine among the best summer wines at all? There’s much to consider as you select the right bottle for an evening outside, an impromptu dinner party, or a summer picnic in the park.
What To Look for In a Summer Wine
What do you think of when you think of the season itself? If you’re like most people, the words light and refreshing probably come to mind, and that’s true for summer wines, too! The best summer wines really manage to bottle light and refreshing in one delicious package.
In the cooler temperatures of the fall or in the depth of winter, you typically look for a full-bodied, heavy wine. When summer comes, though, you want something quite the opposite of that, so you’ll want to search for crisp, stimulating tastes.
How exactly does all of that translate when you’re shopping for the best wines to enjoy this summer?
Look for wines with a higher acidity level. This can truly refresh your palate thanks to the zesty feel that creates in your mouth.
Search for options that have a light to medium body. These tend to be delicate and subtle, so they’re the perfect option for warm summer afternoons and evenings because they’re so easy to drink.
Consider those that have lower alcohol content. Great summer wines tend to have an alcohol content that runs between 11 and 13%. That tends to make them easier to drink in the heat of summer.
Find a wine that features summer fruits. Those that include notes of citrus fruits, tropical scents, or berries help enhance the experience of summer wine and truly add to the refreshing characteristics they tend to have.
Add wines that pair well with your favorite summer meals. Summer cuisine often includes dishes with vibrant flavors and lighter ingredients. Whether it's seafood, salads, or grilled meats and vegetables, you’ll want to select options that can complement and elevate the dishes on your table.
Choose wines that are best served cold. Summer wines are meant to be refreshing! That’s only going to happen during this season if they’re chilled, so choose those that need to be refrigerated before serving. Most experts will tell you to select an option that can be served at 43 to 55 degrees. It will help enhance the subtle tasting notes as well as improve the overall experience.
The Best Wines to Enjoy This Summer
What bottles should grace your wine rack as you prepare for the summer? Try one or all of these five options.
2021 Rainstorm Pinot Noir Rosé:
This Pinot Noir Rosé really is an ideal choice for your summer table. It offers a bright acidity, which provides a zesty and refreshing sensation the moment you taste it. Perfect for those hot summer days, you’ll find it pairs well with a number of summer dishes like salads, seafood, grilled vegetables, lighter meats, and various picnic fare. With each glass, you’ll notice the scents of summer including strawberries and rose petals. Crisp and elegant, it’s the perfect choice.
2018 Ramos Vineyard Gewurztraminer:
If you’re searching for something unique, this is a great choice. Intensely aromatic, you’ll smell and taste a variety of bright summer flavors here including passion fruit, melon, and tangerine. Offering slightly more body than the Pinot Noir Rosé, this Gewurztraminer has a rich mouthfeel, which makes it perfect as an evening glass after the day is done or with a meal.
Its interesting flavor profile makes it a great companion for a variety of cuisines, particularly those with aromatic spices and bold flavors, like Thai, Indian, or Middle Eastern dishes. It can also pair well with grilled meats, poultry, and fruit-based desserts.
2021 Sweet Riesling:
If you’re looking for a touch of sweetness, you’ll find this option to be a delightful and refreshing experience during the summer. It’s the perfect balance of sweetness and acidity, and it features two key summer flavors - pineapple and white peach. The combination of those two fruity flavors and balanced acidity creates a lively and refreshing taste profile, making sweet Riesling a great choice for hot summer days.
It also pairs exceptionally well with a wide range of foods, making it a versatile wine for summer dining. It can complement spicy cuisines, such as Thai or Indian dishes, as well as light salads, seafood, and grilled meats. Like other white wines, sweet Riesling is best served chilled, enhancing its refreshing qualities.
2021 Rainstorm Pinot Gris:
Light on the palate, this is one you’ll certainly find refreshing no matter how high the temperature gets. With bright acidity, you’ll find this to be an approachable, easy-going wine, perfect for summer get-togethers. The bouquet of crisp pear, melon, and honey-blossom aromas is the ideal complement for various cuisines, light salads, seafood, grilled vegetables, and lighter meats, making it a versatile wine for summer dining. Whether you're having a picnic, barbecue, or beach outing, Pinot Gris is a crowd-pleasing wine that suits the relaxed and social atmosphere of summer gatherings.
2020 Rainstorm Pinot Noir:
Light-bodied reds like this Pinot Noir are ideal when you’re having friends over for a grill party. With a bouquet of strawberry, rosehip, and cranberry, it complements summer the moment you open the bottle. It pairs well with a wide variety of summer dishes, including grilled chicken, pork, or salmon, as well as various salads and vegetarian options.
Summer really is the season for a perfect bottle of wine, and if you’re looking for the best wines to enjoy this summer, look no further than our complete catalog. Take a look at the many varieties we have available for order now.
Busy week? You’re not alone. While summer helps slow things down for many people, some weeks just feel a little overwhelming, and a weekend picnic is the single best way to unwind.
A chance to breathe the fresh air, bond with someone special, and take a moment to reflect, there are few things that create that quintessential summer feeling the way a picnic can. Convinced? Don’t forget the wine!
What makes the perfect wine for a summer picnic? This quick guide will have you ready to place your order in no time.
Choosing the Right Wine for a Picnic
If you’re looking for the perfect wine for a summer picnic, there are a few ways you can go wrong. The first is to choose a full-bodied, heavy wine that has a high alcohol content. Picnics are the perfect time for a refreshing, light wine that pairs well with picnic foods. You want a choice that travels well, reflects the gentle season, and offers a crisp, cool flavor.
The second way you can go terribly wrong is to choose a wine that doesn’t travel well. After all, you’re headed out to your favorite picnic spot! You can’t get there without a bit of walking, so an older, fragile vintage isn’t the right choice for this occasion. Neither is a sparkling wine that might accidentally get shaken in the picnic basket.
Now that you know what you shouldn’t buy, you’re probably left wondering exactly what you should choose. In most cases you want something that is crisp and refreshing, has a low alcohol content, and offers a fruity flavor profile.
Five Wine Choices For Your Next Picnic
Here are a few great options you can add to your cart now.
2021 Rainstorm Pinot Gris: Your picnic demands a wine with a great body, and this is one that won’t lead you astray. Featuring delicious summer stone fruit flavors that are balanced with surprisingly fresh acidity, you’ll get a fruit-forward fresh zing with every sip. It’s perfect for a hot afternoon thanks to its refreshingly dry mouth feel.
2021 Dry Riesling: If you’re looking for a cooling drink in the heat of the day during your picnic, this is exactly what you’ll want. With a light aroma bouquet that includes fresh jasmine, it’s the perfect complement to enjoying your favorite picnic spot. The flavor notes here include citrus and white peach, so it pairs well with more traditional picnic dishes.
2021 Rainstorm Pinot Noir Rosé: Summer fruits are the perfect way to cool down and enjoy the flavors of the season, and this choice looks and feels like summer. The strawberry and pomegranate bouquet is the perfect aromatic touch for your picnic, and it’s perfect if you just want wine or you’re looking for the perfect picnic pairing.
2021 Rainstorm Pinot Noir: picnics demand a light-bodied, full-flavored, fruity choice, and you’ll find it in this option. With complex flavor notes that include red berries, bright cherry, and pomegranate, it matches a wide range of foods. That makes it ideal if you’re doing a charcuterie with lots of different cheeses and meats. The low alcohol level also makes it the perfect wine for a picnic.
2021 Sweet Riesling: Aromatic and vibrant, this sweet riesling encapsulates the season of summer itself, making it perfect for your picnic basket. With juicy fruit aromas like pear and orange blossom, it smells amazing as soon as it hits your glass. The flavor notes here only further enhance the summery feel of this wine, as the pineapple and white peach notes offer a sweet brightness you’ll certainly want at your picnic. The low alcohol level is also perfect for the summer heat.
Ready to choose your perfect summer picnic wine? Browse our complete selection now.
Few things match the power of a summer cookout. With the scents wafting off the grill, the beautiful table, the music in the background, and the chance to spend some quality time with your best friends, a summer cookout is often what makes the season great.
If you’re bringing the wine, though, you want to select one that’s going to go well with the food and taste amazing. If you’ve spent hours asking yourself, “What wine should I bring to the cookout?” don’t worry! Choosing wines for cookouts doesn’t have to be tough. Consider one of these options.
A Great Pinot Noir:
When it comes to tomato-based sauces, you can’t go wrong with a Pinot Noir. Our 2021 Rainstorm Pinot Noir has the ability to use its taste profile enhanced with red berries, bright cherries, and pomegranate to match the power of the sauce.
This wine is also perfect with grilled salmon because the fruit flavors and moderate tannins can work nicely with the rich flavors presented by salmon. It will also pair well with smoky grilled vegetables.
A Classic Cabernet Sauvignon:
Hearty grilled red meats deserve our 2020 Silver Totem Cabernet Sauvignon. If you’re thinking about steaks on the grill, this is the ideal wine thanks to the structured tannins.
You’ll find that it’s distinct enough to help balance your palate, and the flavor concentration includes currant and blackberry, which offers an intensity that can match flank steak, ribeyes, and more.
A Light Pinot Gris:
If you’re getting creative with your grill and serving something with a sweet honey-barbeque-based sauce or a grilled fruit like peaches or pineapples, our 2021 Rainstorm Pinot Gris is the ideal option. A refreshing choice, you’ll find a flavor profile that includes stone fruits balanced by fresh acidity. Crisp and flavorful, serve it well chilled for those hot summer evenings.
An Elegant Rosé:
When you want a wine that looks as beautiful as the table will, you can’t go wrong with our 2021 Rainstorm Pinot Noir Rosé. Not only does it look simply amazing in the glass, but it also pairs well with seafood on the grill.
The bouquet here is summer itself featuring strawberry and rose petals, and the taste is crisp elegance redefined. You’ll find a complex burst of flavor that is ideal with a variety of other flavors as well including your grilled appetizer course.
An Extraordinary Red Blend:
If you’re serving something with a spicy rub or sauce or you’ve selected heavier cheese options to pair with your meal, a red blend like our 2018 Thick Skinned Red Mountain is a perfect choice.
The bouquet of cocoa, sweet coconut, dark berries, vanilla, and cherries is amazing, and the mouth feel offers firm tannins that can stand up to the spice of any dish. The perfect complement for a great barbeque, it will highlight whatever is being served in a way other wines simply cannot.
Bring the Best Wine to the Cookout
Cookouts create summer memories you can look back on as the chill of fall begins to set in. Choosing the right wines for cookouts is a great way to help everyone relax and enjoy the time together. Take a look at our complete selection to choose a few bottles that are ideal for your next cookout invitation.
Vitis vinifera - It’s the European grapevine you know that produces grapes like Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Pinot Noir. It’s centuries in the making. What you may not know, though, is that technology and viticulture have been advancing for quite some time, and today, many winemakers are turning away from Vitis vinifera and toward hybrid grapes.
Just by crossing Vitis vinifera with other grapes that have been created, the other tannins and acid structures completely change. While very few vineyards use these hybrids - less than 5% by most estimates - the reality is that with the continually changing climate around the world, hybrid grapes may be the solution to many problems.
What are hybrid grapes, though, and how are hybrid grapes made? This quick guide will walk you through everything you need to know about these grapes and how they might affect your next bottle of wine.
What Are Hybrid Grapes?
Hybrid grapes are a lot like other hybrid crops created today. They’re the offspring of two different grape varietals that either happened naturally or occurred in a lab. Some hybrids are fairly well-known and have been part of the wine world for years. For example, Cabernet Sauvignon is a natural hybrid that came from crossing Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc. The world of wine simply wouldn’t be the same without it.
These days when you see the term hybrid grapes used, though, you’re probably not hearing about those kinds of crosses. Instead, you’re hearing about the kinds of creations that have taken place in a lab to create a newer, stronger varietal for various climates.
How Are Hybrid Grapes Made?
Hybrid grapes are made when breeders choose two varieties based on specific traits like tolerance in certain climates or flavor characteristics. The seed parent receives pollen from the pollen parent by transferring pollen grains to the stigma of the female flowers. Those fertilized flowers develop into a grape berry, which contains seeds.
Each one carries a combination of genetic material from both parent vines. They’re then planted in a controlled environment, and the seeds are stratified to help stimulate germination. The seeds turn into seedlings, and they’re carefully observed to see what characteristics are prominent. The most promising seedlings are further propagated, evaluated, and tested to see how they might survive in a real world setting. If things look good, they’ll be propagated through grafting or tissue culture to make certain the new variety maintains the original traits, then it is cultivated on a commercial scale.
This process is not a fast one. It can take many years and multiple generations of plants. What’s more, though, is that it doesn’t always work as planned, and must be carefully monitored throughout.
Where are Hybrid Grapes Being Used?
For the most part, hybrid grapes are being used throughout the U.S. and Canada. Since the very beginning, winemakers in the U.S. have been considered outliers, continually experimenting and changing the process, and today, you’ll see lots of hybrid grapes being used in the Northeast and in the Midwest.
While more established growers like those in Washington, Oregon, and California, tend to stick to more established grapes, small wineries almost everywhere are starting to use the hybrids, and that’s not a trend that will likely change soon.
In Canada, hybrids have been adopted again and again on both coasts because they grow better in cooler temperatures. Adding grapes to climates across the North American region where they’ve never grown before is becoming more popular, and those regions that are really taking off tend to use hybrids.
They’re used in wine-adjacent drinks like vinous ciders and piquettes, as well as organic wines because they tend to be much hardier than traditional grapes.
Today, there are several different varieties. Here are just a few.
Frontenac: There’s a Blanc, Gris, and Noir version of this one out there, and they tend to be really popular in Vermont and Minnesota. They’re low on tannin and high on acidic properties, making them a great choice.
Seyval Blanc: This one tends to be most popular in Canada and in the midwestern U.S. It’s great for sparkling wines, and it’s sometimes blended with Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling for beautiful results.
Marquette: This one is primarily used in Vermont and New York, and it makes a red wine that seems a bit reminiscent of Pinot Noir if you were to add a bit of depth to it.
Vidal Blanc: Seemingly designed for ice wine in Canada, this option has fairly high acidity levels and a thick outer skin, making it perfect for colder regions. It’s resistant to fungal diseases too.
Hybrid grapes are going to continue to be part of the wine world, particularly when people are looking for something different all the time. As they begin to get the respect they deserve, they’ll only spread further to create many new options even outside of North America.
Close your eyes and imagine the perfect glass of wine. Is it dry or something on the sweeter side? Surveys indicate that many wine lovers tend to prefer something on the sweeter side. There are many different reasons for that, too. Many people just naturally enjoy sweet wines because they offer a pleasant flavor profile that hits the ideal note. They’re often seen as an indulgent treat for people.
They’re incredibly versatile, too, because they can complement many different dishes like spicy foods and dessert courses. Perhaps most importantly, though, they offer that perfect balance combining sweetness and acidity that counterbalance each other. As you shop for the ideal wine for dinner or an upcoming event, though, you may wonder about what wine is best. Which is sweeter - Riesling or Pinot Grigio? Which one is your next perfect purchase?
A Bit of History
Both Riesling and Pinot Grigio have a long history. Pinot Grigio first appeared in the 13th century. Pinot Grigio initially appeared as a mutation of the Pinot Noir grape variety. Pinot Grigio likely appeared in the Burgundy region of France in the earliest days of this wine. Its popularity comes from the Alsace region of France, and by the late 19th century, the vines were being transported to Italy.
It grew well there, and Italy’s already well-established wine making culture quickly embraced the new variety. These days, this unique grape is cultivated in many other regions known for wine like Germany, Austria, Oregon, California, and New Zealand, though each region offers a unique expression of flavor.
Riesling has an equally long history that dates back centuries. Most believe this grape variety originated in the Rhine region of Germany near Rüdesheim. It was initially mentioned in a German vineyard inventory in the 15th century, but it may be older than that.
The popularity of this variety grew significantly, though, during the 19th century. Many wine connoisseurs discovered the beauty this variety has to offer, and it was quickly brought to other wine growing regions. Its versatility has helped it survive and production has expanded further than ever thought possible.
So, Which is Sweeter - Pinot Grigio or Riesling?
In most cases, wine lovers will tell you that a Pinot Grigio tends to be a bit sweet and a bit sour. That comes from the high levels of acidity in this wine. Instead of sweetness, you typically get a slightly more balanced wine when you open a bottle of Pinot Grigio. You’ll find it has a zesty feel, far more so than a Riesling.
A Riesling may feel a bit like a Pinot Grigio when you initially taste it thanks to the fact that they have many of the same flavor notes. They tend to be based on softer fruits including peaches, pears, and apples. Riesling, though, is sweeter. Every bottle tends to have a far higher sugar count, and in some cases, you’ll find that it has a deep honey characteristic you just won’t find with a Pinot Grigio.
It’s also a bit more versatile than a Pinot Grigio because even though it has a lower tannin count, it also has high levels of acidity, so the aging potential here is enormous. Letting a bottle sit in your wine cellar for a year or so will help deepen its flavor quite a bit. At the end of the day, if you’re asking the question “Which is sweeter - Riesling or Pinot Grigio?” you’re going to find that Riesling was made for those who truly love sweet wines.
Which Wine is Right for You?
If sweetness were the only factor, a Riesling is an ideal wine to meet your needs. For most people, though, taking other factors into account is a must. Typically, those other factors hinge on how the wine is being used. If you’re serving it with a meal, a Riesling tends to be a bit more versatile because it’s the perfect combination of sweet and acidic.
It works well with spicy foods like Asian and Indian cuisine as well as many different sweet foods like the entire dessert course at your table. It also pairs perfectly with rich cheeses if you want to serve it along with your appetizer course.
Pinot Grigio is drier, so it’s going to pair best with meats and cheeses. It also works well as a cooking wine, depending on the dish. If you have a savory meal you’re looking to pair the right wine with, you may want to use a Pinot Grigio.
No matter which wine you decide is right for the situation, you can always turn to Pacific Rim for some of the best wines available today. With many different varieties to fill your next glass, you’ll always find a perfect option. Take a look at what we have to offer now.
Which is sweeter: Moscato or Riesling?