Portal da Calçada Vinho Verde, 2014, $12;
Voûte des Crozes Côte-de-Brouilly, 2013, $24
We all tend to have our go-to hot-weather wines, like Italian pinot grigio or New Zealand sauvignon blanc, but I like to break out of it and try something new every summer. For white, I recommend this Vinho Verde from Portugal. It’s bright and fresh, with citrus and a bit of crisp acid and mineral complexity, and is refreshing on its own or with chilled Thai noodles. And reds should not be ignored in the heat. Try a gorgeous Côte-de-Brouilly gamay from Burgundy. Light and refreshing with tart raspberry fruit and earthy undertones, gamay is a wonder of a summer red, especially fortunate when paired with light cheeses and a favorite paté. Go ahead and put a little chill on it for those really hot days.
Both available at Cork Dork Wine Co., 4703 Cedar Ave. S., Mpls., 612-721-9463, corkdorkwineco.com
Bodega Ontañón Maceración Carbónica, $13
The holy grail of summer picnics is the chillable red that stays expressive while ice cold. Meet hot Spain’s solution to the conundrum of summertime reds: Maceración Carbónica. Carbonic maceration is what happens when you make wine by packing a lot of whole grape clusters into a tight space, which limits oxygen and maximizes carbon dioxide. It’s a traditional village farmer’s method in Rioja that the family-owned Bodega Ontañón has recently helped bring into the spotlight again. One taste and you’ll know why they wanted everyone to try it. The method makes a highly extracted black cherry and black pepper wine that’s juicy, lively, and chewy without being at all sweet. Imagine something between a beaujolais nouveau and a northern Rhône syrah—all vinous life rendered with a sexy smolder. Significantly, it’s also nothing but a dream come true next to crusty bread stuffed with spicy salami and slicked with olive oil or, for a true Spanish match, bread stuffed with good oil-packed tuna, onions, and tomato. Stow the wine and your sandwiches in your cooler in ice, and pilot toward the hottest part of the lake.
Available at 1010 Washington Wine & Spirits, 1010 Washington Ave., Mpls., 612-339-4040, 1010wws.com