Food & Wine
Best Summer White Wines, Complete with Fresh Food Recipes
August 25, 2021
Written By Carolyn Pifer
Enjoy this guest post by our friend, Carolyn Pifer of The American Wine Girl.
It’s no secret that summer 2021 has been a scorcher. Extreme weather and headlines have us all craving a glass of wine at the end of the day. Of course, everyone loves a good Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc, but lately I’ve been on the search for more unique wines to sip on to cool off. In addition to the wine, enjoying the seasonal produce in fresh recipes has been a favorite part of my summer.
With the temps on the rise and another month of summer left, I’ll be enjoying these fresh recipes and unique summer white wines until further notice.
Unique summer white wines
Assyrtiko is a fantastic Greek variety and the most popular white grape grown on Santorini. It typically produces a medium- to full-bodied wine with perfumed aromas and flavors of ripe citrus and stone fruit and bright acidity. Assyrtiko is a blending grape and made in a few different styles. This wine is the perfect pairing for light cheeses and salads.
The Etna wine growing region in Sicily was founded long ago by the ancient Greeks. Since then, it was neglected until winemakers over the past decade realized its huge wine growing potential. The thing that makes this region really special is the unique terroir. Mount Etna is the tallest volcano in Europe and one of the most active in the world. White wines grown in Etna’s soil are made largely from Carricante. You’ll often taste notes of citrus, melon, mandarin orange, and an ashy minerality to finish. Etna Bianco wines are light body but delightfully intense and complex.
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Petit Manseng is a fun white grape variety that’s primarily grown in the South West of France. In the Jurançon region, they create a style that is slightly sweet with rich stone fruit and citrus notes. The body is balanced nicely with the off-dry finish and bright acidity. These wines have tons of complexities with notes of peaches, lemon, apricot, honey, and marmalade. This wine is perfect for pairing with food that has some heat or fruity notes.
Viognier is a popular french grape variety grown primarily in the Northern Rhone, but have you ever had one from Virginia? Virginia is an up and coming wine region in the US that actually dates all the way back to the 1600s. However, modern day winemaking in the state didn’t start to take off until the 1970s and has really boomed in the past few years. Viognier has become an extremely popular varietal wine in Virginia. It’s known for having complex notes of honeysuckle, orange blossom, pineapple and white pepper with a creamy mouthfeel.
Greco di Tufo
Greco di Tufo is an Italian white grape variety with DOCG located in the Campania region of Italy. These wines are known for their characteristics developed from volcanic and clay soils which give the wine its unique aromas and minerality. Most Greco wines are done in stainless steel, producing a refreshing, crisp, and summery white wine with notes of green apple, stone fruit, lemon, and almonds with lingering mineral finish. The best Greco di Tufo wines can age and develop notes of mushrooms and honey over time.
Easy recipes for summer entertaining
Below are a few of my favorite dishes to make for a small group gathering in the summer. They incorporate seasonal produce and would be delicious with any of the wines mentioned above.
Burrata with peaches and tomatoes
This dish is a crowd pleaser and incorporates delicious seasonal produce. The salty and sweet flavors of the peaches and tomatoes paired with the creaminess of the burrata makes it a great dish for pairing with light, acidic white wines. Slice and arrange your peaches and tomatoes, add the burrata, drizzle with some olive oil and white vinegar, then top with salt, pepper, and basil.
Grilled salads have been a big thing this summer – I’m here for it! Most grilled salads are made with romaine, so just cut your hearts in half, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and pop on the grill for a few minutes each side over medium heat. Add other grilled veggies and whatever dressing you are in the mood for.
Cantaloupe and prosciutto platter
I always love a simple dish where there is no cooking involved. Especially when you are entertaining, sometimes the simpler the better! Slice your cantaloupe in a half moon shape (or even smaller depending on how many people you are feeding) and wrap in prosciutto. Serve with mozzarella if desired, drizzle olive oil, and sprinkle salt and pepper on top.
Share your summer white wine and food pairings with us on social, @coravin.