I find the best white wine for summer are those unique blends and the less common single varietals. Many of these white wines come from Europe, delivering a refreshing outlook instead of the typical varieties we see in our go-to wines. Most are bright in acidity. My white wine options will take the wine drinker to Alentejo in Portugal, Spain, Australia, and also the Willamette Valley in Oregon.
Best White Wine For Summer Alentejo
Currently, a rising star in wine is the Alentejo region of Portugal. Primarily known for its big red varietals and blends, the area has some outstanding whites that I consider under the radar.
Alentejo is known for its hot climate, and its native white varieties suit the weather conditions.
Alentejo White Grape Varieties
Here are five grapes that define white wine in Alentejo.
Antão Vaz: The Antão Vaz grape grows mainly in the Vidigueira region. As a versatile grape utilized solo or blended, it produces a full-bodied wine with tropical fruits and citrus flavors. Antão Vaz is Alentejo’s most popular white grape. This hot-climate variety is highly resistant to drought and disease, producing consistently reliable yields which ripen evenly.
Arinto: The grape is known as Alentejo’s best white blending variety due to its acidity. The large leaves of the Arinto vine shade the grapes and promote high acidity, making the grape well suited to the region’s hot climate. One finds Arinto displays green apple, lemon, and lime freshness and mineral notes.
Fernão Pires: Extremely aromatic with peppery notes on the nose and palate, Fernao Pires matures early and softens with oak aging. The vine is susceptible to frost, making it well suited to the hot climate of Alentejo.
Roupeiro: Also known as Malvasia and Siria, Rouperio was the most widely planted white in Alentejo. Often paired with Antão Vaz and Arinto, this grape is best enjoyed young. The grapes bring citrus notes of orange and lemon and hints of peach, melon, laurel, and forest flowers to the blend. Roupeiro vines resist many grape diseases, such as powdery mildew, which are severe in hot and dry climates like Alentejo.
Verdelho: An undervalued grape that over-delivers, Verdelho styles range from fresh and fruity when young to rich and viscous when older. Verdelho is early ripening and drought-tolerant variety, making it ideal for growing in hot climates like Alentejo. It ripens early, avoiding spring frosts and mildew diseases. Verdelho originates from the Azores and is not related to Spanish Verdejo.
White Summer Wine From Alentejo
Adega de Portalegre Winery Conventual DOC White Reserva: The grapes varieties for this wine, Arinto, Fernão Pires, Siria, and Bical, come from vineyards with an average age of 70 years old. The wine ages in French and American oak barrels. I found citrus notes on the nose, primarily lime, along with hints of stone fruit. I found flavors of lime and notes of grapefruit on the back of the palate accentuated with mild spices on the finish.
Adega De Redondo Porta Da Ravessa 2020: With soils of granite mixed with schist and clay-limestone, this wine blends Verdelho, Arinto, and Antão Vaz. The result is a wine with aromas of flint and lemon and displays some zingy spice on the finish.
Esporão Coheita 2021: I have sampled this wine several times over the years and love the lively fruity qualities. This vintage combines Antão Vaz, Viosinho, Alvarinho, Vermentino, and other varieties to present a wine with a fruity yet floral nose with citrus and minerally palate, finishing with hints of spice.
Esporão Monte Velho 2021: This wine blends Antão Vaz with Roupeiro, Perrum and others varieties. I found a fresh and elegant wine with aromas of apple and stone fruit and flavors of apple with hints of spices on the finish.
João Portugal Ramos Wines Marquês De Borba White 2021: This white wine blends Arinto, Antão Vaz, and Viognier to produce a wine reminiscent of Sauvignon Blanc. The wine exhibits lots of citrus flavors, including grapefruit.
Rocim Mariana 2020: Blending Antão Vaz, Arinto, and Alvarinho, the wine exhibits fresh fruit aromas of apple and predominantly green apple with hints of citrus flavors on the palate.
Torre De Palma Vinho Arinto Alvarinho 2021: Combining Arinto and Alvarinho, this wine ages in used French oak barrels. Find aromas of citrus and stone fruit and flavors of pineapple. The wine finishes with a spice that gives the quality of a Riesling or a Gewurztraminer.
Best White Wine For Summer Austria:
The Wachau Valley overlooks the Danube River. It is a UNESCO world heritage site and a region defined by its natural beauty. Domäne Wachau’s small plot vineyards lie on steep terraces overlooking the Danube.
Domäne Wachau Grüner Veltliner Federspiel Terrassen 2021: This Grüner Veltliner characterizes fresh fruit and minerality. Green apple and white pepper aromas lead to the same qualities and flavors on the palate. I found a crisp, medium-bodied wine with nice acidity and a spicy finish.
Best White Wine For Summer Willamette Valley Oregon
Iris Vineyards is located in the Southern Willamette Valley on 40 acres surrounded by woodlands. Winemaker Aaron Lieberman sets out to achieve bright, fruit-forward wines with crisp acidity.
Iris Vineyards Willamette Valley Pinot Gris 2020: Besides being an outstanding wine that over delivers for the price, this Pinot Gris won Best In Show at the McMinnville Wine Competition and a Double Gold and Best White Varietal. Tasting this wine, you will see why. The Pinot Gris exhibits viscosity while it exudes flavors of citrus, apple, and spice.
Best White Wine For Summer Spain
Spain’s northern region, Galicia, is known for its white wines. The Rias Baixas region is home to Albariño, the area’s most popular white grape.
Pazos De Lusco Albariño Rias Baixas 2021: Discover an elegant Albariño with nice acidity. The wine exudes aromas and flavors of ripe fruit, citrus, and pear with hints of spice on the finish.
Another region, Aragon, is located in the north-eastern part of Spain and extends from the Pyrenees Mountains south to the central Iberian Peninsula. Somontano is Aragon’s most popular DO that emphasizes the Garnacha grape varietal.
La Miranda Secastilla Garnacha Blanca: The Secastilla Valley vineyards are located in the north-eastern corner of Somontano, known for their Mediterranean microclimate. The area’s windy slopes consist of dry land and soils of sand and stone. This white Garnacha ages in oak barrels for four months. This flavorful wine on the palate displays melon and stone fruit accented by spice on the finish.
Note: Common to the wine industry, this writer received hosted wine samples. While it has not influenced this review, the writer believes in full disclosure.