Which wine is fit for summer?

If you’re anything like me, packing for a trip results in either too many clothes, too few that match the weather or occasion, or combinations that simply don’t work. I do, however, always have an impressive number of bulging suitcases!

Over the years, my friends have indulged my rather haphazard approach to packing with somewhat motherly guidance on which essentials one should always travel with to make for effortless dressing (and luggage hauling).

They almost have a blueprint for packing based on the destination – considering and eliminating items with ferocity and skill, and showing me how to mix ‘n match the chosen few in such creative ways.

That act of considering items that I never would have thought could work together got me thinking: what makes a wine fit for sunny weather? Do we migrate naturally to a particular style or cultivar simply because in our minds it ‘fits better’?

Don’t get me wrong – a chilled glass of Sauvignon Blanc on a warm, balmy night is the melted marshmallow in between the Marie biscuits whilst camping. It just works.

But, as winemakers and viticulturists, we try many different wines, on many different occasions, in equally different climatic conditions. The results are rather unexpectedly surprising at times!

Red wines are not naturally considered summer wines, due to the weight of oak influence and their bold flavours. But there are quite a few red wines that can stand up to the heat of summer!

For example, Zonnebloem’s Shiraz Mourvédre Viognier red blend, when chilled for about 40 minutes in the fridge, makes for a lovely summer sipper. It’s fruit-forward with soft tannins and works wonderfully with a braai or shared charcuterie platter as the sun dips over the horizon.

Zonnebloem Pinotage is another summer favourite of mine. Slightly chilled, the flavours of the fruit and the bouquet of the wine become more pronounced. Try the wine with sushi, grilled aubergines and even tiramisu or a dessert filled with summer berries.

See what I just did there? I turned what is usually considered a winter wine, into a summer ‘fit’ wine! It really is all about a fresh perspective and seeing the wine without its traditions. A lesson I am truly going to employ for my summer holiday packing in a few weeks’ time!

Cheers!

Isobel Habets
Viticulturist

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