On-trend orange wine refreshes the palette on a summer night.
Pairing any summer ritual with wine makes it even better—like enjoying a glass of bubbly on one of DC’s patios and popup sidewalk bistros, which come alive during the warmer months. Our friends at Eno Wine Bar (2810 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, 202-295-2826) agree that bubbly—for any occassion or none at all—is the perfect way to kick off the summer.
Along with sparkling wines, the Eno pros tell us that Washingtonians can expect new trends this summer, including an abundance of orange wine, made with white grapes that macerate with their skins, orange peel, or both. “In the summer heat, it’s all about something cold and acidic,” adds wine director Brent Kroll, who loves sipping on Riesling, Basque cider, or a dry Lambrusco while admiring the fig tree and century old wisteria on the historic patio of Iron Gate (1734 N St. NW, 202-524-5202), where he curates the vino list in addition to his other work at the new Partisan (709 D St. NW, 202-524-5322). The often overlooked varietals pair well with favorite summer spreads like cured meats, seafood, and cheeses.
Wine lovers can also look for other options on tap. Although kegged wines have made a strong showing the last few years, imbibers now have access to more exclusive choices, such as a Dusted Valley Cabernet Sauvignon from Washington State ($5 during weekday happy hours at Eno) or a Hermann J. Wiemer GewuÌˆrztraminer-Riesling blend, from New York, at the Partisan. “Keg wine is a new approach. It’s less expensive and better for the environment, and the wine stays fresh at a good temperature,” says Kroll.
Kegged or not, now’s the time to try something you’ve never heard of. “If I have it by the glass, I want to make sure you’d have to hunt pretty hard to find it,” says Chris McNeal, the beverage director for 701 Restaurant (701 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, 202-393-0701). That’s why you’ll see offerings such as Szigeti sparkling rosé from Burgenland, Austria, on the menu. It took him two months to find a Sancerre he liked as much as the C. Lauverjat Sauvignon Blanc, which he sells by the glass. It tastes citrusy, floral, and fresh, and when you’ve got your shades on, a little bit like heaven, too.