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Welcome to delicious Destinations, a GourmetStation blog. Through the charater of T.Alexander and occasional real-life guests, our aim is to share with you light-hearted fun ideas about food, gift giving, entertaining and culture. At the same time we would love you hear from you. Please share your experiences from home or abroad.

Versatile Summer Wines

Posted: August 25, 2005
by: Susan Anderson

Susan Andersen, Wine Consultant Superiore, is back with suggestions for wines to go with picnics and casual summer dining including Tuscan style dining. Susan shows us that even dining al fresco can be chic and elegant...with the right wine of course. Welcome back Susan. Cheers!Picnic_tuscan

With temperatures hovering in the 90's I'll bet you're looking for a way to cool down. Personally, I need something light, crisp, thirst quenching and most of all, chilled! Above all the wine needs to be refreshing, so a good summer wine must have ample acidity and be light-bodied or low in alcohol. A low alcohol wine won't slow you down, so I suggest a wine that ranges around 11 to 12 percent. Their lighter character makes them a great match for many different food types.

Riesling is a perfect summertime white. It comes in many different styles from bone dry to very sweet, so a Riesling is available for any taste. I like a dryer Riesling from Alsace, but a German Kabinett or a late-harvest Riesling from Washington state would work well for dining on the patio or a picnic. Shrimp is a great match for Riesling.

Sauvignon Blanc with its fresh crisp style makes it one of the most "food friendly" wines. Traditionally made in a lighter high-acid style, it can easily match the acid in a vinaigrette dressing or a cool gazpacho. Besides working well with uncooked foods, it is also enjoyable with a grill of chicken or seafood. It works especially well with goat cheese.

Rose is a top-notch choice for grilled foods, but is flexible and pairs nicely with salads and even a slightly spicy based dish. The freshness of rose wines with their strawberry, cherry, raspberry, cranberry and watermelon flavors are particularily enjoyable in the spring and summer. I like rose with smoked meats or spinach salads with strawberries or a raspberry vinaigrette.

Muscat is the hero of a picnic. It's elegant, very low in alcohol with a floral bouquet of white fruits and spice and if from Asti, a touch of creaminess or a little bubbly. It's like a ripe fruit salad in a glass. A wine that's hard not to like.

If red is still your choice, I would suggest a Beaujolais or Pinot Noir slightly chilled. The chill brings the fruit flavors forward in both wines. Just make sure that the temperature of the wine isn't as high as the temperature outside!

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