The Best Wines for Summer

There is no wrong season to drink any particular wine, but summer seems to open up the door to, well, everything. From sparklings to thirst-quenching whites and reds that complement whatever comes off the grill, it is the season to explore.

The Best Wines for Summer

Summer days seem to cry out for crisp and refreshing whites, and both Vinho Verde and Sauvignon Blanc wines should be at the top of the list.

If you’ve ever tried Portuguese Vinho Verde––literally “green wine”––then you know it is the quintessential summer wine. Portugal has become known for producing inexpensive and excellent dry, slightly effervescent wines bursting with fruit and bright acidity.

A bottle of red rose wine sits on a dusty orange background with greenery behind the bottle.
Photo Courtesy of Highland Park Winery

Arca Nova 2022 Vinho Verde Rosé

In many locales, your options might be limited to the wines of a few large producers. Casal Garcia, for example, is widely available and delicious. Their white Vinho Verde, with its iconic blue label, is chock-full of melon and green apple notes and is the bestselling Vinho Verde in the United States. A low 9.5-percent alcohol also makes it a perfect summer sipper over languorous evenings with friends.

The 2022 Arca Nova Vinho Verde Rosé is another great find whose price point defies the magic in the bottle. Bursting, ripe strawberries and raspberries are balanced out by a zippy acidity and subtle spritz. This wine benefits from a blend of two indigenous grape varietals, including the highly regarded Touriga Nacional which accounts for some of the country’s most spectacular and complex reds.

The bottle of a wine bottle with an X logo sits amongst various wine glasses in clear and opaque blue.
Photo Courtesy of Invivo

Invivo X, SJP 2022 Sauvignon Blanc 

Because it is grown everywhere, the options for Sauvignon Blanc are virtually endless. However, that diversification means that the wines vary greatly from region to region. A Sauvignon Blanc grown in France’s Sancerre tastes entirely different than one grown in New Zealand. Over the past twenty years, Kiwi Sauvignon Blanc has exploded onto the scene with brightly acidic and crisp wines.

The 2022 Invivo X, SJP Sauvignon Blanc from the famed Marlborough region has been racking up a lot of accolades as of late. In early 2024 Wine Spectator gave it 93 points and in 2023 named it one of their Top 100 Wines in the World, coming in at number 29. Notes of fresh-cut grass and lime burst from the glass, with fresh fruits and just a hint of oak aging. Imagine this alongside wood-grilled sea scallops and haricot vert. Summer perfection. And if you’re wondering what the SJP stands for––yes, Sarah Jessica Parker is part of the winemaking team behind the wine.

Five bottles of wine in the same shape on a wood table with flowers to the left and two champagne glasses to the right.
Photo Courtesy of Gruet Winery

NV Gruet Blanc de Blancs

There are also ample summer occasions (think brunch) where sparkling is in order. New Mexico’s Gruet creates some of the finest sparkling wines in the United States and at incredible price points, even offered as a by-the-glass option at many fine restaurants from coast to coast.

Offering both vintage and non-vintage bottlings made in the traditional champagne method, Gruet’s line up of sparklings range from fruit-forward rosés to dry bruts. The NV Blanc de Blancs is perfectly dry and simply lovely. On the nose, floral and fresh bread dominate, and on the palate, green apple, guava, and citrus. This is not a sparkling for mimosas. It is for toasting good friends and diving into a frittata of asparagus and pancetta and a side salad of frisée with sherry vinaigrette.

5 wines sit on a wood table behind a wood background with another bottle standing on a platform above the rest, featuring two glasses of wine below it.
Photo Courtesy of Cline Vineyards

Cline 2020 Big Break Vineyard Zinfandel

Finally, no summer is complete without thick, marbled steaks on the grill (or even a hearty, marinated portobello) and the perfect red wine to elevate the whole thing. Cline Vineyards––family-owned, sustainably farmed, and begun in California’s Contra Costa County––continues to create some of the most elevated and interesting Zinfandels. Though, the demand and consumption of Zinfandel is declining. As an act of resistance, consider any number of widely available Zinfandel bottlings from Cline for your summer barbeque. In particular, the 2020 Zinfandel from Big Break Vineyard is both profoundly unique and sublime. Big and bold with eucalyptus, mint, and ripened cherry flavors, this is the red that will make you love Zinfandel anew.

Story by William Smith / Photo Courtesy of Simon Lohmann

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