4 Wines to Sip This Summer

Refreshing but flavorful, these wines are the champions of the featherweight division

Michael Kwas

Michael Kwas

The long winter’s over and the market’s in full gear, with the new harvest calling for wines that mirror the tenderness and delicacy of spring produce. Unfortunately, most lighter wines tend to be watery and flavorless. There’s a class of wines, however, that has ample flavor in a featherweight frame with delicate flavors that are implied rather than stated. These are usually white, low in alcohol, unadorned with oak and made with slightly underripe grapes. They are particularly good in July, when their refreshment value is high, but consider trying them now for a poetic match based on a similarity of intensity and texture when harmonized with spring ingredients. The following represent some great wines in this category. If you can’t find the exact wine, one from the same grape and region should do just fine—the younger the better.   

Merkelbach Riesling Kabinett, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Germany 2012, $17
The exemplar of this style, these are the lightest of the world’s great wines. Merkelbach makes wines with tensile acidity that makes its flavors taste almost sinewy. Try one with the first strawberries of the season. 

Quinta do Aveleda, Vino Verde, Portugal 2012, $9
This lives up to its name as a green wine with a tangy hint of underripe fruit with an impression of  sweetness, although this wine is quite dry. It’s super with a spring green salad.

Cave de Pomerols Picpoul de Pinet, Coteaux du Languedoc, France 2012, $10
Floral aromas yield to tender flavors of pear and gooseberry. Try it with fish—any fish.

Giodano Lombardo Gavi di Gavi, Piedmont, Italy 2012, $15
Made from the Cortese grape, this wine really smells of walnuts, yet the palate is alive with electric citrus flavors and tart acidity. It’s a great wine to enjoy with roast chicken served on a bed of arugula. 

Michael Kwas is wine director at L’Etoile restaurant. He writes this column monthly.

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