Wines for a Summer Evening

As the days grow warm here in the valley, you may notice a still, small voice saying, “White, I want white wine.  Skip the red and request white this evening, please.”  Think of this as your inner clock letting you know it’s time to slow down on the heavy reds and get an icy bottle of white, a chilled, dry rose or even a light, fruity red.


Consider for a moment the inevitable 115 degrees in the shade.  This is Arizona and sometimes, we don’t get even a slight cool down after the sun disappears behind Camelback Mountain.  It can be 100 degrees at midnight.  Somehow it is difficult to enjoy the robust reds and ports with cigars this time of year. 


Now is the season for a cold, white wine to refresh the palate.  Something full and rich with hints of tropical splendor like a California chardonnay – or something lighter like an Italian Pinot Grigio or Vermintino – or the grand favorite of all time, Montrachet.


The Montrachet is from an exclusive area of the Burgundy region of France which is also the original home of the chardonnay grape.  Montrachet is one of the most important wine regions in the world, producing wines that are full, rich and powerful.  The tiny town of Montrachet lends its name to these wonderful wines which have been made here for centuries.


The chardonnay grapes of Burgundy are grown under much stricter standards than its California counterpart.  Thus, the wines are a more accurate expression of a particular year’s weather patterns with a unique flavor and character for each vintage.


Since some people do not appreciate the chardonnays and other white wines, here are two reds that might appeal:  Pinot Noir and Beaujolais.  These two can be enjoyed with just about any meal and continued well into the evening.


Pinot Noir is the perfect red wine for parties and weddings.  This wine is versatile and light enough to enjoy on a warm summer evening.  Pinot Noir is a smooth, elegant wine that leaves a lingering taste of cherries, perfect plums or maybe a hint of pomegranate.  Pinot Noirs come from California, Oregon and France.


On the other hand, Beaujolais has a beautiful floral bouquet that weaves together with bright, fruity flavors to create a spectacular light, red wine.  Like Pinot Noir, Beaujolais will enhance most meals and is light enough to enjoy in the dry, hot climate of the valley of the sun.


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