Summertime Wines – Sommelier’s Corner

By Zak Kilson |

It’s summertime and the living is easy. We live in this cool coastal community with fresh seafood available at every turn. For me, summertime brings some fun changes to my diet, a lot of which come by way of light and refreshing dishes made from our delicious little friends from the sea.

When I’m looking for the right summertime wines during these hot months, I have two sets of criteria. The first thing I’m looking for in a wine is how refreshing it is. As you read in last month’s column, that bottle will often times be a rosé, but I have some other go-to wines that I think you’ll enjoy as well. The second thing I look for is how it pairs with the food I’m about to eat. This is where I look to regions that have a lot of seafood in their diets due to their geographical location.

summertime wines with fish entreeFor our purposes this month, I’ll focus on a couple different wine growing regions and varietals from those areas. We’ll start in France in the Loire Valley in the appellation of Muscadet Sevre et Maine. The grape: Melon de Bourgogne. Most people refer to this wine as “Muscadet,” not to be confused with Muscadine, which grows here in North Carolina. If you go into most bottle shops in the area and ask for a Muscadet, they’ll know what you’re talking about. Melon de Bourgogne is one of the friendliest and most refreshing wines around, and makes the ideal accompaniment to all things shellfish and seaside living. It can also be consumed on its own from the comfort of your front porch as it is what we affectionately refer to as a “porch pounder.” Ahem… drink responsibly.

Domaine Claude Branger, Muscadet Sèvre-et-Maine Sur Lie Le Fils des Gras Moutons is my top pick these days for a tasty Muscadet. It comes in at 13% ABV, and is full and ripe with bold flavors of fresh apples. A lively, mineral texture and good depth of flavor shows through in the weight of the wine. You can pick it up for $15/bottle.

Next up, we’ll travel a little bit south to the Northwest of Spain in Galicia in the D.O. of Rias Baixas. The grape: Albariño. Albariño is bright, invigorating and crisp. The most common flavor profiles will include grapefruit or pineapple, and you will always be left with an underlying, suggestive, seashell minerality – perfect in summertime wines. I would be in full support of reconfiguring the fountain in the intersection of 5th Avenue and Market next to the Bellamy Mansion to dispense refreshing and cold Albariño during the summer months. Unfortunately that might cause some undesirable outcomes, so I’ll just continue to dream about this fantasy world I’ve created. In the meantime, I’ll just sip Albariño and eat crab cakes all day the old fashioned way.

For a truly great experience, try the Eidos de Padrinan, Rías Baixas Albariño which retails at $24.

As always, you can order all of these wines through my wine club by emailing me at Cheers!


Zak Kilson is the Wine Club Director at Chien de Vin, a wine club for animal lovers where 5% of the proceeds are donated to local animal rescue efforts. With over a decade of wine industry experience, Zak is wine-obsessed and in the midst of a lifelong quest to drink great wine, meet awesome people, and share the love of the grape.


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