Try these tasty summer favorites to beat the heat

Like a splash in the pool, these seasonal wines keep us fresh and cool.

Medieval Soave Castle surrounded by Soave Classico vineyards

Today’s iDEAL retraces the summer food trends of Shanghai over the past few summer months. Therefore, I thought why not do something similar with wines? In other words, pick my four favorite wines this summer.

Like a splash in the pool, these seasonal wines keep us fresh and cool.

I love a wide range of wines, so there’s a certain amount of difficulty picking my number one summer wine. But if pushed, I’d have to say the 2015 Cantina del Castello Soave Classico. 

It’s the quintessential summer wine. In fact, many top Soave wines make for wonderful summer drinking, but this year I kept falling in love, over and over again, with the flagship Soave of Cantina del Castello. 

This 90 percent Garganega and 10 percent Trebbiano di Soave is an absolute charmer featuring a straw yellow color with greenish hints, expressive fruit and floral sensations and luscious texture. This high-quality, fresh and distinctive wine typifies the elegance and purity of premium Soave Classico wines. This region definitely deserves more attention from Shanghai wine lovers.

Cantina del Castello is named after one of Italy’s most beautiful castles. About 20 kilometers from Verona, the castle and medieval town of Soave make it one of Italy’s most charming and picturesque destinations. 

The castle and town are surrounded by a picturesque meandering fortress wall that also dates back to the Middle Ages. Outside the walls are scenic, vineyard-blanketed Soave Classico hills that generously contribute their fruit to one of Italy’s most noble white wines. 

Cantina del Castello also produces two single vineyard Soave wines — Pressoni and Carniga — that showcase the potential of Soave to make age-worthy, complex and balanced wines. But it’s the less expensive, easy-going and stylish Soave Classico that captured my heart this summer.

Who doesn’t love sophisticated, fresh and delicious bubbles during the summer? In fact, a summer without bubbles is a summer without sunshine. 

This year my go-to sparkler has been the Domaine Ste Michelle Columbia Valley Brut. This premium wine is an incredible value offering high-level Champagne quality at a far more reasonable cost. 

It has everything you want from a super summer wine including elegance, freshness and a long clean finish. This non-vintage blend is comprised of mostly Chardonnay with Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier also contributing. 

The color is bright pale yellow with persistent lively bubbles and delightful citrus, green apple and floral aromas and taste sensations.

It’s impossible to discuss Washington State wines without mentioning the pioneering Chateau Ste Michelle winery that includes the sparklers of Domaine Ste Michelle. It all started half a century ago when a small Washington State winery named Ste Michelle Vintners released their first premium Old World-style Cabernet Sauvignon from the Yakima Valley. At the time, few could envision that this ground-breaking wine would mark the beginning of one of the wine world’s great success stories. 

Today according to Wine Spectator, Chateau Ste Michelle makes more bottles of 90+ point wines than any other winery in the world. 

In my world, the Domaine Ste Michelle Columbia Valley Brut is definitely a 90+ wine.

Number three on my list is the 2015 Coppe Core Negroamaro Salentino IGT. Good wines, like a good life, are all about balance, and this rose from the heal of the Italian boot has balance and refinement. 

Made from the local red variety Negroamaro, it features an enchanting coral pink color, aromas of ripe cherry, strawberry and raspberry with notes of red roses and fresh palate of red fruits with a solid acidic backbone.

Sadly, this wonderful rose will soon be disappearing from Shanghai shelves as the importer has informed me that he will not make further orders because rose is still a hard sell in China. 

Summer is not the exclusive domain of lightly shaded wines; indeed, lively and fresh red wines are also ideal. 

France is home to many pleasing summer reds but this year I felt especially attached to one of Burgundy’s most obscure red wines. 

The name Passetoutgrain literally mean “pass all grapes” and while it may not be easy to enunciate, the wines themselves are eminently easy to drink. 

Unique among the wines of the region, Bourgogne Passetoutgrains are a blend of both red and white grapes with Gamay usually comprising the majority, Pinot Noir making up at least 30 percent and up to 15 percent Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc and/or Pinot Gris thrown in. 

The result is a pleasingly light, fresh and fruity wine with mouth-puckering vivacity. 

My two favorite picks this summer were the 2016 vintage Laurent Pere et Fils Bourgogne Passetoutgrains and Emile Chandesais Bourgogne Passetoutgrains. 



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