It’s hot these days in Munich with temperatures of about 30°C. This dwelling heat is perfect for fresh summer wines. Below is a list of wines which I recommend for this warm period of the year.
The Veneto is one of my favorite regions in Italy for refreshing white wines: Lugana, Soave, Custoza or varietal Pinot Grigio – to name just a few. Hundreds of producers, competitive prices and quality wines. The list is endless. For this post, we will concentrate on three Custoza and three Soave wines.
Bianco di Custoza is a white blend of up to nine grape varieties but most commonly a blend of Trebbiano, Garganega and Trebianello. In the past, it was considered a cheap alternative to Soave. The quality of Custoza wines has increased drastically over the last decade and Custoza is becoming a real alternative to some of the more prestigious Veneto whites.
Custoza wines can be characterized as light to medium-bodied, refreshing with aromas of apples and lime and a moderate to strong acidity.
I wrote a more detailed post about the Custoza wine region last February. Here’s the link to that article.
There are dozens of quality Custozas out there. Below are three of my favorites.
2014 Gorgo – San Michelin – Bianco di Custoza DOC
This Custoza is a blend of Cortese, Tocai, Trebbiano and Garganega. The grapes are fermented in stainless steel tanks in which the wine then also ages for a few months before bottling. In the glass, the typical Custoza aromas abound: Green apples, some lime and quince but also hints flowers. On the palate, dry with a strong but overall balanced acidity. San Michelin has a mineral touch and is quite fruit-driven with notes of apples which recall the aromas from the nose. Light, elegant white wine with a lingering aftertaste.
Retails for about €6 in Veneto and about €11 in Germany. Excellent quality-price ratio.
2014 Villa Merighi – Bianco di Custoza DOC
This is a classic Custoza blend: Cortese, Garganega and Trebbiano are blended with small amounts of Chardonnay and Trebbianello. Fermentation and aging take place in stainless steel tanks. In the glass, the wine has pale yellow color. Aromas of green apple, lime zest and hints of peach and apricot. On the palate, very fresh with a strong acidity. Quite mineral. Notes of fresh fruit and hints of bitter almonds. Long finish. Easy-to-drink, well-balanced Custoza. 12.5%ABV.
This Custoza is available for €7+. Good-value.
2013 Cantina Gorgo – Summa – Bianco di Custoza Superiore DOC
In the glass, Summa has a beautiful straw-yellow color. 13% is the label-listed alcohol by volume. The nose is a wonderful mix of flowers and fruits with aromas of white peaches, mango, acacia and jasmine. On the palate, Summa is dry, round, quite mineral with a full body. Notes of ripe fruit. A smooth Custoza Superiore of good balance. Nice sapidity and lingering aftertaste.
Summa has a retail price of about €13.
Soave’s reputation suffered a lot in the 80s, like most Veneto wines, from overproduction and low quality standards. In present-day there are some wineries in Soave which make lovely whites. Soave is on average more expensive than Custoza. Soave can either be a varietal Garganega or a blend of Garganega with other varieties including Chardonnay and Trebbiano.
2014 Latium Morini – Soave DOC
Morini uses a blend of late-harvest 80% Garganega and 20% Trebbiano for his Soave. On the nose, this Soave is highly aromatic with passionfruit, pear, elder flower and white peaches. In the mouth dry and fruity with a moderate acidity and notes of red apples as well as passionfruit. Harmonious, perfectly balanced and very addictive! Good length. 12.5% ABV.
Bought this wine by the case directly at the winery for €5/bottle. Unbelievable!
You cannot go wrong with this wine at that price and it certainly outmatches some Soave which cost easily 3-4 times as much. 2014 was a difficult vintage in Veneto but Latium Morini managed to produce a stunning Soave.
2014 Pieropoan – Soave Classico DOC
Pieropoan is one of the biggest names in Soave. They have also bought land in the Valpolicella and produce Amarone and Valpolicella Superiore. However, they remain known for their whites from Soave. They make one entry-level Soave and two single vineyards, La Rocca and Calvarino. The first two are blends of Garganega with Trebbiano whereas Calvarino is a varietal Garganega. However, the single vineyard wines are more complex and complicated and are in my book no summer whites. Furthermore, they are both very pricy for Soave – La Rocca touches the €30 mark.
Pieropan’s entry level Soave Classico ferments in stainless steel tanks. Compared with the Soave from Morini, the nose is less aromatic and more one-dimensional. Nevertheless, there are aromas of white flowers, melon and a tiny bit of mango. In the mouth, the wine is dry and fresh with a dominating acidity acidity. It is highly mineral with a medium aftertaste. A decent wine from a difficult vintage.
Pieropan’s entry level Soave retails in Munich for about €13
2012 Inama Azienda Agricola – Vigneti di Foscarino – Soave Classico DOC
Inama Azienda Agricola went with a varietal Garganega for their Soave Classico “Vigneti di Foscarino”. The wine is sourced from the winery’s oldest vines and fermented in used barrique barrels. For a period of six months it underwent batonnage every four weeks. The wine then aged for six months in steel tanks before it was bottled.
The use of oak gives this Soave a rich nose with bit of orange peel and roses but also aromas of camomile, mirabelle liquor and elder flower. Medium-bodied in the mouth with a low acidity. Notes of green apples, bitter almonds on the finish. Decent length. 12.5% ABV.
What about other regions?
Of course, you can find summer wines in lots of wine producing regions. German Riesling or Austrian Grüner Veltliner also come with a great freshness and are often crisp and highly mineral. If you prefer less-crisp then a Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand might do the job for you.
Veneto is my go-to region for summer whites and the above listed wines are just a few suggestions that came to my mind.
Don’t get me wrong, I won’t turn down a glass of high-quality red wine just because it has 30° C but if I get to decide then I prefer something crisp and fresh over an oaked, full-bodied red during this time of the year, especially as aperitif.
What about rosé? Rosé wines have it difficult with me because I seem to give them little love. I try to change that every summer without much success.
What kind of wine do you prefer to drink during summer? Let me know in the comment section below.