As the days get warmer, many oenophiles start to shift from the heavy, tannic red wines they’ve been sipping fireside to options with a more refreshing, alfresco vibe. To help with the winter-to-spring wine transition, we asked five experts across the country which bottles they’re gravitating toward this season. Read on for inspiration and recommendations, from a light-bodied red to an adventurous blend to a beautifully dry rosé you’ll want to enjoy well into summer.
The Ideal Warm-Weather Red
According to Priscilla Martin Curley, partner at Springhouse Sundries in Charlottesville, Virginia, Uva Non Grata Gamay, France 2019 is a fun and playful wine that is perfect for transitioning the red winer drinker into Spring. “Uva Non Grata is a French wine made entirely from Gamay in the traditional style of carbonic maceration,” she says. “This way of processing the wine brings out lovely fruit flavors in the wine, keeping it bright and accessible.” UNG is light bodied, bursting with ripe berry fruits, floral aromas, and even slight notes of chocolate. Best served with a bit of a chill on it, Curley finds it perfect for drinking on a patio on the first warm days of spring. The herbaceous tones would pair wonderfully with spring salads full of fresh peas and asparagus, while the light body and lack of tannins also make it the perfect red wine to pair with your first grilled seafood dishes of the year.
The Go-To Dry Rosé
Rosé is a popular springtime pick, and for good reason. Dan Kaufman, co-owner of BottleHouse in Charlottesville, Virginia, has a particular affinity for Elizabeth Spencer’s Rosé of Grenache, Mendocino 2020 dry rosé made from the grape varietal Grenache. “This Mendocino Grenache is picked at the optimum time to retain the fruit purity before fermentation and aging in stainless steel,” Kaufman says. “The resulting wine is beautifully dry with notes of fresh raspberry, strawberry, cream, and hibiscus flower.” A fruit-forward, medium-bodied pick like this one is best paired with lighter seafoods, such as a flaky white fish, grilled poultry, or a fresh green salad.
The Perfect Patio Pairing
Expect in-your-face aromas with 32 Degrees Sauvignon Blanc, from Hailstone Vineyards in Napa, California. It’s a quintessential summer wine, and favorite of Hailstone Vineyards founder and owner Chris Zazo. Bright and very drinkable, it offers notes of green apple, pear, mango, and a touch of vanilla. “This is a great wine for spring and summer,” Zazo says. “It’s crisp and light, which makes it perfect for enjoying on the patio or by the pool when the weather gets warmer.” With balanced and focused tropical flavors with well-integrated acidity, this light-bodied wine lends to a versatility in pairing—the acidity adding a bright punch to seafood dishes or creamy cheeses, or for a bolder approach, you can partner it with a spicy dish for a balance in flavor profiles.
The Slightly Sweet Pink
For rosé fans that prefer a subtle sweetness, Rosé of Syrah & Tannat from Signor Vineyards in Fredericksburg, Texas, delivers a superb blend of Syrah and Tannat grapes. Andre Boada, Advance Sommelier of Court of Master Sommelier and lead of Signor Vineyards food and wine programming, explains that rosé is best described as a red wine trying to act like a white wine, delivering the sensation of a white without citrus notes. Instead, you get a delicate, fresh light berry simplicity in the glass. “The 2020 Signor Vineyards Rose of Tannat & Syrah represents a lively expression of that protocol. Full of flavor from two powerful red wine varieties, yet refreshing with aromas of white cherry, ripe strawberry, and pomegranate,” Boada explains. “With the summer months ahead, this blended rosé is a must to beat the heat.” Complex and slightly dry, try pairing this pick with a fresh lemony pasta or a seafood paella.
The Adventurous White
If you’re looking for something a little more adventurous in your warm weather wine pick, look no further than Tulip White Blend 2018, a unique blend of Gewürztraminer and Sauvignon Blanc grapes, says Tiffany Tobey, sommelier and general manager of Thirty Eight & Vine in Fort Worth, Texas. Light, crisp, and bursting with fruit-forward flavors, the Tulip White Blend is from a commonly overlooked wine-making region near the Sea of Galilee. “A lot of people don’t realize how lovely wines from Israel are,” Tobey says. “It’s very rewarding introducing the Gewürztraminer grape and Israeli wine to those that may never have tried either.” A food-friendly wine to pair with, the aromatic blend couples nicely with pronounced flavors, such as smoked fish or pungent cheeses.
Springhouse Sundries at Dairy Market and BottleHouse are featured in The Scout Guide Charlottesville. Hailstone Vineyards is featured in The Scout Guide Naples. Signor Vineyards is featured in The Scout Guide Hill Country. Thirty Eight & Vine is featured in The Scout Guide Fort Worth.