When you think of a wine’s body, think of whole milk, two per cent milk and skim milk; whole being a full-bodied wine, two per cent being a medium-bodied wine and skim a light-bodied wine. It’s simple to see which is most refreshing.
As for acidity, think of sucking on a lemon. Are your salivary glands beginning to water? This sensation is also experienced with a highly acidic wine, and this pleasing salivary saturation can be as refreshing as a glass of lemonade.
A wine’s bitter, astringent, sticky or rough mouthfeel is caused by tannins, which are found in grape seeds, grape skins or in oak barrels that store wine. Simply stated, tannins make your mouth feel dry, which isn’t fun on hot summer days.
So which wines are typically light-bodied, highly acidic and low in tannins? Here are some of our faves:
The most famous are from Mosel, Germany and are typically sweet, fruity and highly acidic. Alsace, France produces nice dry Rieslings and Columbia Valley, Washington has exceptional examples of both dry and sweet Rieslings.
The best examples of this wine varietal are from The Loire Valley in France. Wines from the Loire are aromatic and crisp. Look for the bottle labeled Sancerre, a well-known area. Marlborough, New Zealand also produces great blancs.
Another famous Loire Valley wine that is complex with honeyed fruit flavors and crisp acidity is the Chenin Blanc. Look for a bottle labeled Vouvray, a commune from this region that is known for producing the very best of this variety.
Look for bottles labeled ‘Chablis’ from Burgundy, France –this wine offers citrus and tropical fruit flavors with crisp acidity. Ok, I’ll admit, I’m a Francophile, and while California has some great Chards, most are too full and rich to be refreshing.
Many red wines are too full-bodied and tannic to be refreshing. But if you prefer reds and want to enjoy one on a hot day, look for Pinots from Willamette Valley, Oregon. Light body, subtle fruitiness and refreshing acidity. This red wine is most enjoyable when served chilled.