Spring into Patio Season

by Lisa Elbert, Tastemaker in Residence

In light of the upcoming spring season, and in hopes that the weather will warm to the point of patio re-openings, I’ve decided to will the warmth with a few of my favorite lesser-known patio pours.  While most people associate spring with blooming flowers, bike rides, and a fresh new crop of ingredients to enjoy, I prefer to label spring as patio season.

There is nothing more enjoyable than sitting on a patio, the sun shining down on your face, with a nice, crisp glass of wine in hand.  Being a wine lover, I am hard-pressed to turn down a nice glass regardless of season.  That being said, I do find a few varietals and styles to be most complementary of warm weather.

Rose': This style of wine is made from red grapes, but generally has a light pink hue.  The varietal used to make the rose varies from country to country, and their flavor profiles will be subtle expressions of the particular varietal used, but one thing is true for all rose wines: they are food-friendly.  They are perfect for spring and summer because they are often served chilled, and pair well with warm weather fare.

Sancerre: This style of wine is most famously from the Loire Valley in France, and is made from 100% Sauvignon Blanc.  The cool climate of the Loire Valley gives the wine a crisp acidity, but the grape itself offers a nice balance of fruit flavors.  Sancerre is considered some of the world’s best wine for food.

Alsatian Riesling: Generally, when people think of Riesling, they think sweet.  This is not always the case.  There are many wine-growing regions that produce Riesling, but one of the most famous places is Alsace, France.  Riesling is Alsace’s most prestigious grape.  Alsatian Riesling is typically very dry, as opposed to a German Riesling, with high acidity and a predominant minerality.  They have remarkable complexity, which makes this wine perfect for either sipping solo on a patio or enjoying with a wonderful warm-weather meal.

Arneis: A native Italian grape, Arneis almost became extinct in the 1960’s, but has made a well-deserved resurgence over the past couple of decades.  Primarily grown in the Piedmont region of Northern Italy, these full-bodied wines are floral-scented with generous pear and apricot flavors.  It is a chic match for seafood, which is a popular warm-weather fare.