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The Wonderful Wines of Summer
updated: Jun 25, 2011, 8:30 AM

By Eric Garnier

Summertime has just arrived and with it starts the festivities. Weddings, back yard BBQ's, pool parties and for me, any excuse to get people together and enjoy the "Wines of Summer".

This is a period of time when the weather gets warmer, our eating patterns change, and with that so do our wine drinking habits.

White wines seem to come to the forefront during the summer. Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Reisling become more the wine of choice for all the different occasions. Other less known varieties such as Viognier, Rousanne, Grenache Blanc, Albarino and Marsanne are also great choices during summer. What is nice about most of these Rhone wine varietals is that many of the wineries on the Ventura Wine Trail make these.

Chardonnay styles have changed over the last few years, with a big shift to the less oaky chardonnays. I prefer this style because the fruit stands out more and the wine does not seem as heavy. When shopping for this style, look for label descriptions like "stainless or naked or no oak".

Sauvignon Blanc, sometimes called Fume Blanc, on the other hand tends to be more grassy, with notes of grapefruit, citrus and eucalyptus. This wine is a great sipping wine for hot days or before dinner. Some folks like this wine with salads or white fishes.

The dry Roses, not to be confused with White Zinfandel, are very pleasant to drink when it is very hot. They also pair well with a variety of foods from Salmon to salads.

Although this column is all about the great white wines of summer, I would be remiss if I did not mention the king of red summer wines. Zinfandel, which is also widely produced on the Wine Trail is THE go to red wine for the summer BBQ's. This ancient grape varietal goes great with BBQ beef, chicken, veggies or whatever your grill cooks up.

So, go out there and stock up on your summer whites. Experiment, try new brands, new varietals and I assure you, you won't be disappointed.

Reach Eric Garnier at Wineoeric@gmail.com

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