Are you stuck in a summer wine rut of pale rosé after pale rosé? It’s time to branch out. Lauren Denyer, WSET educator, talks us through the wines you need on your radar for summer 2022.

Whether you’re a professional or an enthused amateur, The Wine & Spirit Education Trust, founded in 1969, provides globally respected education and qualifications in wines, spirits and sake. We asked one of its educators, Lauren Denyer, for the lowdown on what wines we should be drinking this summer.

What do you see as the key wine trends for summer 2022?

After summer in the UK barely made an appearance last year, we’re hopeful that summer 2022 will offer the long-awaited moment to embrace wines that are made to be sipped in the sun. We predict that there will be a move towards drinking more serious yet suitably summery wines that leave an impression: tangy whites, rosés with clout, super fresh bubbles and chill-able reds.

Fresh, zesty, mouth-puckering whites are the flavour for this summer – think the wine equivalent of jumping into a cool salty ocean after overheating on the beach. The wines that will give you that great sensation are those made from Albariño from Rias Baixas in Spain, or Alvarinho – as it is called in Portugal – from the sub-region of Monção e Melgaço part of Vinho Verde. Another grape variety known for its saltiness is the super fresh Assyrtiko mostly grown in Santorini in Greece. These wines are both lip-smackingly fresh and vibrant. Or why not try a Manzanilla, a tangy and savoury sherry that tastes a bit like the ocean it is aged right next to?

Pale rosés are everywhere these day – now is the time to look at some other shades of pink. This summer, embrace rosé with food. Great rosés with a touch more gravitas can be found in Tavel in the southern Rhone. These deep coloured pink delights are dry, seriously fruity and fuller bodied. The same is true of oaked Rioja rosés. These have a touch of complexity with hints of vanilla and sweet spices.

Those with prosecco fatigue should seek out their fizz elsewhere this season. The French are known for their great sparkling wines, but it doesn’t have to be champagne. There are some fantastic value fresh and exciting crémants from France. Crémant d’Alsace, Crémant de Loire and Crémant du Jura are available from many supermarkets and wine merchants, and they won’t break the bank. These are vibrant, appley, citrus wines with a mouth-filling mousse. If you want to stick with Italy, though, a really impressive lively and complex sparkling wine with super freshness and great biscuity notes can be found in Trentodoc from the north.

Light juicy, crunchy reds are making waves all over the world at the moment. Grape varieties like Cinsault, grown in Chile and South Africa and Grenache/Garnacha from Sierra de Gredos near Madrid, and juicy riper styles from Mclaren Vale in Australia, are just the ticket. These can be popped in the fridge and served at around 10-13°c making them great, cool, summer reds.

What are the longer-term trends we should be looking out for?

As wine consumers become increasingly climate conscious, we should be looking out for lighter, more carbon neutral packaging. For those wines that are designed to be drunk in their youth, glass bottles are generally not necessary. Look out for flatter plastic bottles on the shelves: these wines are not only better for the environment, but you can stack them in the fridge easily. Cans are great for picnics and there are some quality producers and brands now embracing them. In good restaurants and bars many wines are being poured from bag in boxes, which means that these offerings stay fresh when ordering wines by the glass or carafe – plus you don’t have to order a whole bottle.

Wines produced in the UK are becoming more and more popular. We may be mainly known for our great quality sparkling wines but do also look out for wonderful crisp still Chardonnays and some fantastic Pinot Noir rosé wines. Additionally, if you are drinking them in the UK, you’ll know they haven’t travelled far!

What are your top tips for tasting and getting the most out of wine?

The best way to get the most out of your glass or bottle of wine is to make sure you serve it properly. Lighter bodied rosé and white wines should be served at around 8-10°c and chilled reds at 10 -13°c. If you open a bottle (and this applies to red wines too) and don’t finish it, then pop it back in the fridge, ideally with a vacuum stopper, and it will stay fresher for longer.

Most wine can be enhanced by the right foods. To really bring out the fruitiness of your wines between mealtimes, serve with salty snacks like almonds, salted popcorn, little chunks of cheese or crisps.

To learn more, visit WSET’s website and discover where to study.

By Lauren Denyer
June 2022