As the mercury rises this time of year, so does our thirst! The best wines to enjoy during the hot days and warm nights of summer are brightly flavoured, balanced and refreshing. They are mid-weight, with moderate or no oak at all. They are versatile food partners that will pair well with a variety of summer fare. And most importantly, they have ‘drinkability’! Here are two of our top choices for Summertime sipping:
2018 Pedra Alta Pedra a Pedra Branco
Conventional wisdom says that the last place to find thirst-quenching white wine is the hot Douro Valley, known for making Port, the world’s finest example of sweet, fortified wines. But Pedra Alta is not the average Douro producer. Located in the heart of the Cima Corgo sub-region, this winery strikes a fine balance between tradition and modernity, elegantly showcasing the exciting breadth of offerings coming out of Portugal these days. Their 35 hectares of steep, terraced vineyards are the archetype Douro landscape, dramatically rising from the eponymous river that meanders through northern Portugal. Only indigenous, Portuguese grapes are planted on poor, schist-based soils, namely Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca and Tinto Roriz for reds, and Gouveio, Rabigato and Viosinho for whites. The winemaking is led by two young and dynamic individuals, Joao Pires from Portugal and Matt Gant from Australia. As is tradition in the area, all wines are blends and grapes are crushed via foot treading in granite lagares. Only wild yeasts are used in fermentation and oak aging is measured. Pedra Alta wines are at once powerful and refined, offering up loads of Douro Valley warmth alongside Old World structure and sophistication.
The Pedra a Pedra Branco is sourced from the winery’s highest vineyards, ensuring that the wine will have ample structure to carry the intense, ripe flavours provided by the Douro’s warm, dry conditions. This is a blend of native Portuguese grapes, Rabigato and Gouveio, fermented via wild yeasts in stainless steel, then aged on the lees for 6 months. The result is a refreshing, aromatic and textured white wine that drinks well on its own and pairs brilliantly with fresh, simply prepared seafood. It is unique in its combination of tropical flavours and salty minerality wrapped in a bright, focused, mid-weight package.
2019 Salcheto Rosso
Established in 1984, Salcheto is the creation of viticulturist and winemaker Michele Manelli. Michele’s genuine passion for refined and delicate wines has propelled this tiny estate into one of Montepulciano’s top producers. His mission is simple and clear: seek quality, both in the vineyard and the cellar, with an unfailing respect for the character of the grapes. 50 hectares of organically/biodynamically farmed vines are planted with Prugnolo Gentile, the local clone of Sangiovese. Manual harvests, sulfite-free vinifications, native yeasts, large “bottle” and “tonneaux” barrels — these are the tools used to produce elegant, soft wines with pronounced aromas, unique for each vintage released. This is an ‘off the grid’ winery operating an energy independent cellar system. In 2014, Salcheto was named Gambero Rosso’s Sustainable Winery of the Year. That same year, it celebrated its 30th anniversary with a rebranded label and the introduction of a new bottle. The ‘Bordolese Toscanella’ bottle is the lightest on the market, ensuring that the wines are delivered around the world with the lowest carbon footprint possible.
This is a classic, youthful Tuscan red with tons of freshness and energy. Bright cherry and berry aromas and a slightly salty meaty note are framed by subtle hints of anise, leather and soft ripe tannins. This is the archetype Summer House Red for all occasions. Crushable on its own or alongside charcuterie, summer pastas and grilled burgers.
$20.20 per bottle
Available by the bottle through the LCBO:
Salcheto rosso 2019
$23 per bottle (Includes HST)
12 bottles per case