Rosé, White and Bubbles: Wines to Sip All Summer Long, According to Top Somms

Memorial Day has come and gone which means one thing: summer – and summer drinking –  is officially here. To help you decide what grape to put in your cup this season, we have asked sommeliers from some of the top bars and restaurants around the country to give us their picks. Cheers!

Dan Pikey

Dan Pilkey, Head Sommelier at Maple & Ash, Chicago

Pick: Greek rosé and Austrian Riesling

“For some reason this year I’m liking Greek Rose and Austrian Riesling,” says Pilkey. “Try Johannes Zillinger “Velue” Riesling Weinvierte Austria 2015 and Tatsis Negoska Rosé. Incredibly strange and off the beaten path, yet delicious. Farfalle Pasta with Ramp Pesto & Parmesan would be perfect with either wine.”

Aldo Sohm

Aldo Sohm, Aldo Sohm Wine Bar, NYC

Pick: Bedrock Wine Co., Old Vine Rosé, “Ode to Lulu,” Sonoma Valley, California 2016

“I think we can all agree that the ultimate summer wine is rosé,” says Sohm, the former master sommelier from Le Bernardin, who now runs the adjacent wine bar. “At Aldo Sohm Wine Bar, we’re celebrating the entire season with a very special #drinkpink edition of our nightly #9pmpour: every Wednesday we’re popping a double magnum (at a minimum!) of a different rosé because there can never be too much rosé!”

“When we’re not drinking big bottles, my favorite summer wine is the “Ode to Lulu” rosé from Bedrock Wine Co.,” Sohm continues. “I love it because it’s crisp, refreshing, has a good fruit expression and it’s totally dry. It simply invites you to have another sip. It also works perfectly with the lighter, vegetable-focused dishes I prefer to eat in the hot summer months: summer salads or Aldo Sohm Wine Bar’s Baked Cauliflower would be delicious complements.

Natalie Grindstaff

Natalie Grindstaff, Crafted Hospitality’s Director of Beverage Programs, NYC, Miami, LA and Las Vegas

Pick: Arnot-Roberts Rose’ 2016

“Is it boring to recommend rosé?” jokes Grindstaff. “Well, I guess I don’t care, because this one is my 2017 summer wine. Arnot-Roberts Rose’ 2016, made from Touriga Nacional, Tempranillo & Grenache. Arnot-Roberts is making some of California’s most exciting wines from lesser known grapes and their rosé is exceptional. Beautiful salmon color with crisp minerality and notes of melon and strawberry, so refreshing. Perfect for drinking on the porch while you watch the summer sunset. Prosciutto & melon would be so great with this wine. The melon echoing back the aromas in the wine and the salty prosciutto contrasting the fruit and freshness.”

Ryan Arnold

Ryan Arnold, Divisional Wine Director, Lettuce Entertain You, Ēma, Chicago

Pick: rosé

“Rosé is refreshing and crisp, and has a nice structure similar to red wine, with the acidity and texture leaning more towards a white wine,” says Arnold. As for pairing, Arnold goes with barbeque. “The versatility of rosé is part of what makes it so special – it’s a refreshing start to a meal and it has enough body to hold up to most food at the table. Rosé + BBQ = perfection. Rosé from Southern Rhone pair great with grilled burgers or ribs off the grill.”

Sarah Lehman Cafe Medi

Sara Lehman, Café Medi, NYC

Pick: J.P. Balland Sancere

“The J.P. Balland Sancere’s bright acidity and generous notes of citrus, exotic fruits, and minerality are perfect for summer,” explains Lehman, who has created a special wine pairing menu with summer-friendly sips and dishes. “This wine is refreshing and fun, and will excite your palate and get your mouth watering for some fresh seafood like the Yellowfin Tartare, on the Café Medi menu, or the Burrata with Georgia peach, salted almonds, and prosciutto!”

Sergio Rueda, Beverage Director, Kiki on the River, Miami

Pick: rosé

“Wines to have this summer or, quite frankly, any time are rosé wines. In particular, Chateau La Gordonne. This Provencale grenache-based rose is the type of wine that gives the feeling of a sunny Sunday, and is one of the most versatile refreshing and pleasant wines I’ve had in a while. It’s serious enough to stand up to dishes like our Lobster Pasta, but also refreshing as well to flirt with our Greek Tomato Salad with feta.”

Jake Lewis Momofuku

Jake Lewis, Beverage Director of Momofuku

Pick: Ameztoi Rubentis Txakolia rosé

“It is perfect for the season,” says Lewis. “It’s a pleasantly spritzy, dry rosé from northern Spain that is absolutely thirst quenching. It’s the right balance of fresh tart fruit, and salinity.” As for pairings, Lewis recommends trying this wine with shellfish. “Moutains of fresh, raw oysters, scallops, and cold boiled shrimp,” he says. Yum.

Carrie Lyn Strong, Casa Lever, NYC

Pick: wines from the coast, bubbles, Chardonnay

“For wines of the Summer, I always go to the coast!” says Strong. “Wines of Liguria like Punta Crena Pigato Vigneto “Ca De Rena” and Laura Achero Vermentino bring bright acidity and great salinity to fresh seafood served in the summer. I also loves wines of Sicilia for their freshness and mineral texture like Bennati “Pietramarina” Etna Bianco Superiore and even a little more full but still crisp and clean, Passopisciaro “Passobianco” Chardonnay. And as always, I love bubbles when the thermometer starts to rise. Franciacorta proves every day how versatile and refreshing it can be with sparklers from Ca’ Del Bosco and Barone Pizzini. Both wineries offer dry, complex Franciacorta which are accessible enough to enjoy every day and confident enough to hold a vintage for a special summer occasion.”

Alan Lam Eataly

Alan Lam, Beverage Director, Eataly NYC Flatiron

Pick: rosé

“The best wine to drink for the spring and summer to me, hands down, is rosé, says Lam. “After all, this time of the year is unofficially known as rosé season. The reason why I love to drink and recommend rosé is that it’s such a crowd-pleaser. The worst thing is getting a bottle of white for the table and have people in the party that only likes red or white. Rosé wine solves that issue because it has the approachability and brightness of a white wine, with the complexity and backbone of a red. Tip: Rosés are supposed to be drunk young. You normally want to drink rosés that are made within the past two years. The saying “wine gets better with age” does not apply to rosés — you want to drink the most current vintage as possible.”

Lam also loves rosé for its versatility of food it can pair with. “You can have rosé with a starter like a salad, or a heavier dish like chicken or pasta,” he admits. “I personally like to drink rosé with seafood, such as oysters or fried seafoods.”

Chris Scocca

Chris Scocca, Baltaire, Los Angeles

Pick: Biblia Chora Assyrtico, Macedonia, Greece 2015

“Crisp fresh lemon peel and mountain stream rock minerality combine to create this mouth-wateringly refreshing crisp white wine from Macedonia,” explains Scocca. “This is one of my favorites at the moment and one I just recently added it to the by the glass list. If you like Pinot Grigio or any crisp white wine, then you have to try this one. Assyrtico is the name of the white grape variety which proliferates throughout the country.” He recommends trying it with Baltaire’s Baja Kampachi Crudo with cilantro, coconut, avocado, and crispy garlic. We agree.

Roberto Paris Ilbuco

Roberto Paris, Wine Director at il Buco and il Buco Alimentari, NYC

Pick: Montenidoli Canaiolo Rosato di Toscano 2016

“Elisabetta Fagiuoli, owner at Montenidoli, at 87 is the oldest woman in a made man world,” explains Paris. “She makes wine of place and terroir. Her Rosato has the perfumes of white, the color of reds with perfumes of wild  Mediterranean spring flowers .It  steals the show from reds and whites with pale orange, pink  apricot hues. Very slightly youthful zest, hints of gunflint, intense salinity rich and savory flavors and a long focused finish that the calcareous fossil-rich soils offers it’s perfect in the summer months but also during mid seasons.”

For summer sipping , Paris also likes the Marco De Bartoli Zibibbo “Pietranera” 2015 from the small volcanic island of Pantelleria, SE of Sicily and Raventos I Blanc “de nit” Sparkling rosé 2016 from Penedes, Spain. “Raventos is a beam of light in the industrial area  of Cava  making  biodynamic wines expressive of the region,” says Paris. “It’s the perfect summer wine for salads , tapas and shell fish.”

Sarah Clarke

Sarah Clarke, Beverage Director, Mozza Restaurant Group, Los Angeles

Pick: 2013 Rotari Brut Rosé

“Rosé is perfect for summer and bubbles make it even better,” says Clarke. “Very high quality wine for the price.” As for pairings, Clarke recommends Fried Squash Blossoms or Pizzetta Primavera with Peas and Asparagus. “It’s notably hard to pair wine with asparagus, but this bubbly rosé is a great match.”

Jonathan Charnay, Beverage Director, Claudette, NYC

Pick: Domaine des Tourelles rosé, Bekaa Valley, Lebanon

“At Claudette we are very proud of our rosé wine program,” says Charnay. “We carry different styles from many regions. Rosé wine is perfect for the summer season. It can be enjoyed by itself on a hot summer afternoon, but also can be a great compliment to a meal. I suggest one rosé in particular that matches beautifully the spicy accents of Claudette’s cuisine: Domaine des Tourelles from the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon. The wine is a blend of Cinsault, Syrah and Tempranillo and has notes of wild strawberries, fresh herbs and juicy acidity. It will compliment dishes with spicy sauces like our Squid with Harissa or the Lamb Kefta with Za’atar.”

Jacob Daugherty Le District

Jacob Daugherty, Sommelier at Le District, NYC

Pick: Domaine Saint Andrieu Côtes de Provence Rosé

“For Provence standards it is low production at a pretty high elevation, grown almost 400m high in the mountains,” explains Daugherty. “It is  owned by Château Talbot, a great Bordeaux house, so the pedigree is there. This is a quintessential patio pounder. It is a great value and very easy to drink. The fruit is pleasant and it makes you want to take another sip. Great for pairing with cheese and charcuterie in a park or alone on a beach.”

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