Summertime calls to mind alfresco dining, light breezes, and delicious summertime wines to sip for a relaxing treat. The best wines for summer are as varied as the meals you’re likely to serve them with. As you’re planning your summer party menus or looking for something to enjoy on your own at mealtime, consider this advice from local wine experts.

Summertime Wine Pairings

Pairing for Hamburgers or Halibut

When it comes to summer wine pairings, Colleen and David Rosenberg, co-owners of Brix Wine and Liquor Store in Ballston Spa, recommend the Marques de Tomares Rioja Crianza, paired with a hamburger on a bun with your favorite toppings. This selection has a saddle nose and dark cherry and licorice flavors. 

With a family grape growing history since 1886, Don Román Montaña founded the winery Marqués de Tomares in 1910. It is still operated by his grandchildren today, and the fruit is hand-picked in old traditions on nearly 206 hectares of family-owned vineyards.

For a fish meal, such as grilled halibut with a lemon basil vinaigrette, the Rosenbergs also recommend the Daou Chardonnay. This 2020 chardonnay offers delicious “pineapple, pear and Granny Smith apple flavors,” as well as “hints of lemon chiffon, nectarine and honeysuckle.” You might also taste “star jasmine, nutmeg and vanilla bean,” they say.

It is well-complemented by “lemon zest and baking spice,” making the halibut with a lemon basil vinaigrette the perfect choice. 

Pairings for Salmon, Chicken or Vegetables

The Thirsty Owl in Saratoga Springs serves wines from its own vineyard in the Finger Lakes. The vineyard is nestled on 150 acres along the western shore of Cayuga Lake, while in Saratoga Springs, visitors can enjoy lunch or dinner as well as wine tastings.

General manager, Josh Cupp, suggests pairing summer wines with a lighter meal. He suggests any seafood, poultry, or vegetables for pairing with several types of wine, including Rose´, dry Riesling, and Chardonnay

Rose´ is a wine that sat in the background for a long time, but its popularity has spiked in recent years and is apparent for the vast majority of Rose´, to choose from in most wine stores, from lighter to fuller bodied depending on the grape blend. Pairing well with chicken, lamb, soft cheeses, salmon, and grilled vegetables.

A dry Riesling is a great summer wine for light dining, says Cupp. Rieslings are an incredibly versatile white wine grape and their characteristic high acidity, as well as a bit of residual sugar, gives them that crisp, refreshing taste that works well delicate ( or raw fish, chicken, salmon, and grilled tuna.

In contrast, Chardonnay continues to be the most compelling and popular white wine in the world, because it is the red wine of whites. It’s complex and interesting making it a great choice all year round, but nonetheless a popular summer wine. It pairs beautifully with fish and seafood. It also pairs well with many seasonal salad recipes as well as grilled pork, creamy pasta dishes and meaty fish ( halibut and cod) and some shellfish.