Sunny days and long, warm nights. From beaches and bonfires to sunny patios and cottage BBQ dinners, summer in Nova Scotia may be on the short side but is it ever sweet! Here’s what I’m drinking this summer:
Patio Perfect: Crisp White Wines & Dry Rosé
If you haven’t already, it’s time to join the so-called “Pet-Nat Posse”! Petillant Natural aka Naturally Sparkling aka Pet Nat aka summer’s hottest wine trend (you get the point) is an ancient method of making sparkling wine. The result is a wine that is a vivid, unfiltered and an incredibly quenching summer sipper. For an introduction to the style, check out the locally-made Benjamin Bridge Pet-Nat in cans. If you’re looking for something more international, try the delicious Am Stein Pure & Naked Pet Nat or California’s Birichino Petulant Natural.
Looking for a crowd pleaser for a hot summer afternoon? Look no further than our own backyard! Tidal Bay is Nova Scotia’s signature white wine blend and happens to be a delicious addition to any summer plans. Take it from me: keep at least one bottle in the fridge ready for impromptu guests, Asian-inspired cuisine like Sushi, and salty snacks on a patio. Want a unique Tidal Bay experience? Buy our special Tidal Bay release case (online only) to taste this year’s vintage, plus get some swag from the NS Winery Association.
If you’re looking for something completely different: new to our shop is Australia’s Delinquente Screaming Betty Vermentino, a ripe and fresh white wine that’s made sustainably. It’s ready for any fresh seafood dish or grilled chicken dish you can throw at it and super refreshing on a hot summer night.
Finally, there’s rosé. We love rosé here at Bishop’s Cellar and we’ve had more than 20 rosés hit our shelves in the past few months. There’s nothing quite like a bottle of pink wine this time of year- full of flavour and freshness, while also offering incredibly food friendly aromas and flavours. I’m a sucker for newcomer Austrian wine Sepp Moser Zweigelt Rosé and Chateau de la Selve Maguelonne Rosé. If you’re on a budget, go for Sierra de Enmedio Rosé, Le Petit Pont or Comtesse Marion Rosé – each offers so much for the price.
Summer Sippers: Fresh & bright red wines
Hot summer nights call for a light, fresh, and crushable red wine. Don’t be afraid to chill these wines down before you enjoy them!
Ask almost any of our staff about their summer wine faves and you’re bound to hear lots about Gamay. This purple-hued grape makes light bodied and fruity wines everywhere from its famous home in France’s Beaujolais region to areas around the world, including Niagara, Australia and Oregon’s Willamette Valley to name a few. Try one of our delicious and quality-focused Beaujolais wines, I especially love LaPierre Raisins Gaulois and Jean Foillard Beaujolais Villages. When it comes to food pairings, Gamay is incredibly food friendly. Try it with everything from a beach picnic of chicken salad sandwiches to, stay with me on this one, Chinese takeout. I especially love it with charcuterie and creamy, washed rind cheeses.
Alternatively, try something different and turn your BBQ into a pizza oven too cook up homemade pizzas right on the grill. Open up a bottle of fresh, nervy Italian red for the perfect pairing. For a cheap thrill try Borggero Casotto Antico Barbera d’Asti– at just $15/bottle this is hands down one of the best value-for-money deals in our shop. If you want to drink what many of our staff are drinking this summer; stock up on Fuedo di Santa Tresa Frappato and Foradori Lezer .These wines are juicy, gulpable, and zinging with a liveliness you’re looking for in summer reds.
Big, bold reds are BBQ-Ready
Like many, I rarely cook on anything but the BBQ this time of year. Whether you’re grilling up burgers & meat or vegetables and halloumi; the smoky, deep flavours grilled food require wines with a bigger body and fuller flavours to tie the flavours together.
Personally, I’m a big fan of the Spanish wines for these purposes. Great value, bold flavours, and often organic winemaking are all fantastic features of these wines. For something fruit forward and spicy, with less tannin structure, go for a bold wine made with the Garnacha grape: try Bodegas Gregorio Las Martas Garnacha or Familia Bastida Paraje de Titos to start. If you want to expand beyond Spain, a great blend is Australia’s Bleasdale Wild Fig Red.
If you’re looking for more tannin and acidity, especially helpful if you’re pairing meat dishes, find Spain’s star grape Tempranillo. Try Letargo Rioja Tempranillo first and then step it up with an aged Rioja or slightly more mineral wine from Ribera del Duero.
August may be flying by, but there are still weeks of sunny summer fun left. Enjoy!