July 19, 2017 | By RJS Craft Winemaking
The summer of 2017 is in full swing. Sunny days mean shorelines are packed with colourful umbrellas as we all turn into beach bums soaking up the rays. Grilling has become a daily routine as we scarf down hot dogs, burgers and kebobs. And, afternoons spent on the patio have resulted in thousands of craft winemakers everywhere suddenly realizing the 30 bottles of Pinot Grigio made to last throughout the summer won’t even make it to the end of July.
If you are running out of Pinot Grigio, why not make another white to take you past the dog days of summer and into the Labour Day festivities? Pinot Grigio is best known as a light, refreshing Italian white; crisp and round with citrus fruit and stone fruit flavours. Below are three recommendations from our tasting team for fruity and quaffable summer wines as an alternative, or as addition, to your favourite Pinot Grigio.
Fans of Pinot Grigio, looking for a change, might want to consider trying Sauvignon Blanc. Both wines pair well with light dishes, like salad and seafood, and both make a refreshing aperitif in warm weather. While both are also dry and crisp, their flavours and aromas can be quite different. Sauvignon Blanc tends to be slightly more acidic, and is best known for its grassy, green pepper, and herb-like aromas and flavours. Like Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc features citrus notes but instead of lemon, it will have hints of lime and grapefruit.
If you drink Pinot Grigio because you enjoy a wine that is fruity and high in acid, why not consider trying Riesling for a change? Wine drinkers often think of Riesling as a sweet or off-dry wine – and many great Riesling are made in those styles. However, nowadays more winemakers are making their Rieslings bone dry, to fabulous results. To achieve this style, leave out the sweetening blend, or only add in a portion. Well-made examples of Riesling are exceptionally aromatic and fruity, with flowery, almost perfumed aromas and flavours of orchard fruits like nectarine, apricot, honey-crisp apple, and pear.
Pinot Grigio drinkers can be reluctant to make Chardonnay as it is often associated with oak. However, like Pinot Grigio, excellent examples of Chardonnay are often made without any oak! Whether you are making it at a winemaking retailer or at home, for an unoaked style, just leave out the oak addition. The result will be a light, dry and refreshing wine with flavours that will depend on where the grapes originated. Chardonnays from warmer climates, like Australia, will have tropical notes such as melon, but still retain the citrus notes found in Pinot Grigio. Chardonnays from cooler climates will have more green fruit characteristics, like green apple and pear.
With these three summer wine ideas, get yourself to a craft winemaking store and put on a new batch of wine so it is ready long before the leaves start turning. For those craft winemakers who can’t imagine a cellar without Pinot Grigio, why not put on two or three batches? Before long you will realize there is a whole world of wine to discover beyond your usual favourite.