I am terribly spoiled as I experience summer conditions just about every day in Planterra’s sun-splashed conservatory. For me, summer is more than a season, it has a scent, a flavor and it’s a state of mind – that’s why I enjoy cracking open my favorite bottle of French rosé or dry Michigan Riesling on a sunny day in January. The solar rays combined with the crisp and aromatic flavors of a summer wine transports me to the shores of Lake Michigan or the seaside of La Rochelle; I call it “summer in a bottle.”
As a foodie I am mindful of food pairings and meal combinations. However, when it comes to sipping wine on the patio or the shoreline it more important to pair the wine with the mood you desire. Be sure the TV is off, the lawnmowers away, so you and your guests can get lost in conversation as the sun sets on a perfect summer night.
What’s more, the philosophy of influencing the mood of your event with your beverage selection is truly for the artists of entertaining. This concept works for all kinds of occasions from the most elegant of weddings to soulful backyard barbeques. Designing a party is like directing a movie, if Budweiser isn’t part of your vision, don’t offer it.
Here are this year’s selections to enjoy this summer or if it’s not summer, transport yourself to a summer state of mind.
Delightful dry and semi-dry French rosé
There is something sophisticated about a pink drink that is not sweet but dry with subtle fruit tones. Call it a European bias but there are few summer drinks that are more delightful than a dry French or Spanish rosé. This summer I have these three rosé selections chilled at ready.
Sangliere Cotes de Provence, Rosé, France
Saint Andre de figuiere Le Saint Andres, Rosé, France
Alain Brumont Vin de Pays Cotes de Gascogne, Rosé, France
Summer wines from Michigan
The wine producing region of Northern Michigan shares not just the French names inherited when the peninsula was a French colony or the fact that Grand Traverse Bay and Bordeaux are both on the 45th parallel: Michigan produces outstanding, world-class summer wines, sparkling wines and Rieslings that are on par with those from most famous wine producing regions in the world. On a hot or cool summer night, enjoy some of these favorites.
Shady Lane, Riesling, Leelanau Peninsula, Michigan
Forty-Five North Vineyard, Chardonnay, Leelanau Peninsula, Michigan
Mawby, Blanc de Blanc, Sparkling, Suttons Bay, Michigan
Mawby, M. Lawrence Sex, Sparkling, Suttons Bay, Michigan
Shady Lane, Sparkling Riesling, Leelanau Peninsula, Michigan
Classic summer whites
Of course entertaining in the summer isn’t without the tried and true varietals. In my two previous summers, I tired of Pinot Grigio, so I’ve moved to a direction this year seeking greater flavor. The Montus Blanc being my favorite.
Alain Brumont Chateau Madarin, Montus Blanc, France
Domaine Daulny, Sancerre, France
Ranga Ranga, Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough, New Zealand
Isaac Fernandez Selections, Biutiful Cava Brut, Spain