My Favorite Hot Weather Wines
To help make your next wine select this summer, I met Brian at his rustic-chic
wine bar and marketplace Les Marchands, located in the “funk zone” of downtown Santa Barbara.
Over a gorgeous glass of Nebbiolo, Brian helped me choose the best wines inspired by my summer travels. Whether you need something to wow your pool party guests or a bottle to bring to your next al fresco dining event—we have you covered.
I first enjoyed a glass of cold, crisp Gavi di Gavi one summer night in Portofino. Glenn and I were spending a few weeks at the spectacular Hotel Splendido, just doing summer up. Whenever an afternoon felt especially hot, Gavi de Gavi was the ideal wine to drink. Chilled to perfection, this bright Italian white still reminds me of those hot gorgeous evenings in Portofino. And it goes easily with most bikini-friendly foods, including a light margarita pizza.
Brian Recommends: 2013 Laghibellina Gavi di Gavi
Whenever I’m in Saint Tropez (or if I just want to recall good times at the Palmiers Beach Club) I make sure to have a bottle of Rose from Provence chilling on ice. Crisp and zesty with notes of summer berries, I love a glass with fresh seafood, summer salads, and light pasta dishes. It’s such a nice cross between a white and a red, plus nothing makes a table look more festive than glasses of pink wine.
Brian Recommends: 2014 Terrebrune Bandol Rosé
I love champagne. Everything about it. The bubbles, the color, the taste, the flute glasses, and of course, the celebration. Who doesn’t love that feeling you get when you’re about to toast to something great? However before I tried a truly high quality bottle of champagne, I honestly thought it all tasted pretty much the same. I tried all the respectable labels, but nothing really impressed me. Then, Brian introduced me to Laval. Pricey but totally worth it, this champagne is in a league of its own. It’s made by a boutique producer and can be difficult to get. But try it once, and you’ll see. You’re welcome.
Brian Recommends: Georges Laval Brut Nature NV
No matter what anyone said, I used to be a California Chardonnay devotee. At one point I had an amazing collection of it, all boutique bottles from wine clubs I had joined on a trip to Napa. We were planning Thanksgiving, and I told Glenn we could not possibly serve my good Chardonnay—we’d go to the store. But before the date rolled around, we went on a trip to the Loire Valley to spend a week with friends floating through Burgundy on a houseboat. That’s when I first met Montrachet. After drinking it all week, I was a fan, and suddenly not so attached to my old stand-by. So the California Chardonnay was a hit on Thanksgiving. Once you go Burgundy, you don’t go back.
Brian Recommends: 2012 Francois Carillon Puligny Montrachet
When Glenn and I went on our 9-week honeymoon through Italy and France, he planned for us to stop in Saint-Émilion, one of Bordeaux’s finest wine regions. Over the course of a couple of nights, I fell in love with the most delicious, versatile, goes-with-anything red wine. There’s something unique and special about the rich Merlot and Cabernet grown in this old world wine region. This Bordeaux blend has a deep ruby color and is perfect to pair with roast meats and hearty pastas.
Brian Recommends: 2000 Chateau Figeac St. Emilion
Les Marchands Wine Bar and Merchant
131 Anacapa St., Suite B, Santa Barbara, CA 93101