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As summer heats up and July 4th quickly approaches, no doubt your social calendar is packed with picnics, BBQ's, and pool parties. While you may automatically think of busting out the brews or whipping up some margaritas, a well-chosen bottle of wine can be just the thing to elevate your favorite summer entrees.

We visited our friends at Abaco Wines and Wine Bar, the Miami Design District's premiere spot for all things vino related for a crash course in unexpected summer wine pairings. Store manager and sommelier Rachel Barowsky shared her favorite summer pairings... consider this your summer wine primer.

Summer Rosé

Barowsky Disesa Vineyards Albertus Magus Small Batch Pinot Noir Rosé, 2014, Sonoma Coast

Albertus Magnus Rosé is the perfect wine to drink all summer. Notes of strawberry and orange zest allow for delicious sips by the pool, but complex enough to enjoy with a variety of light bites, fish, or poultry. The bottle is elegant enough to bring to a dinner party and the flavors will knock your socks off!

BBQ Meat

White: Emidio Peppe Trebbiano d’Abruzzo, 2010, Abruzzo, Italy

White wine isn’t the first thought when thinking about pairings for meats such as ribs or burgers, but this one might change your mind. The wine is unrefined, unfiltered, and contains tannins. Tannins — found in stems, seeds, and the skins of a grape — are mostly found in red wines, but there are a few exceptions and this is one of them. The reason why we want tannic wines to pair with meat is that the wine complements the food by drying out your mouth and prepares you for that next bite of luscious fatty and flavorful steak. Full flavor and texture is the name of the game for this out-of-the-box Italian White.

Red: Château Moulin à Vent Clos de Londres Moulin à Vent, 2009, Beaujolais , France

Don’t be fooled by the appellation. This is not the light and fruity Beaujolais Nouveau you have enjoyed at the beginning of each new harvest. Rich red and black berries, violet, wet stone, and smoke are just some of the complex aromas you will experience when drinking this wine. Perfect for those smokey ribs waiting for you on the bbq. Concentrated with fine tannins, this wine packs an unexpected punch.


White: Pazo Señorans Albariño, 2015, Rías Baixas, Spain

Fresh caught grilled whole fish on the BBQ is one of the joys of summer and Albariño is the perfect wine to pair. Bright lemony and peachy notes are complemented by beautiful salinity and snappy acidity. A perfect summer wine that you will want to stock up on six bottles at a time.

Red: Tenuta delle Terre Nere, Nerello Mascalese 2015, Etna Rosso, Sicily

Bright, fresh, and light in color, Nerello Mascalese may look like Pinot Noir, but it has more tart cherry notes rather than sweet cherry. Perfect to serve slightly chilled, Tenuta delle Terre Nere matches well with the snapper on the grill, cedar plank grilled salmon, tuna steaks, and a variety of other seafood items. Quite possibly one of our favorite red wines to serve with fish.


White: Hirsh Vineyards Chardonnay 2013, Sonoma Coast

Versatile and utterly delicious, Hirsch Vineyards Chardonnay is so elegant it can be compared to a Premier Cru Chablis. Perfect to stand up to grilled vegetables, but understated and easy enough to pair with a fresh summer salad. The nose is filled with green apples, Anjou pear, lime zest, pineapple, Marcona almond, and ocean breeze. Think pasta salad with fresh zucchini, goat cheese, and loads of fresh mint from the garden.

Red: Barowsky Disesa Vineyards Phillip Leonard Pinot Noir 2014, Sonoma Coast

With so many delicious Pinot Noirs to chose from, you may ask yourself, how do I pick just one? We’ll make is easy for you: BDV Phillip Leonard Pinot Noir. Unctuous and rich on the nose, lovely and soft on the palate, and pairs with so many types of food we can’t keep track! One of our favorite pairings with the Phillip Leonard is mushrooms because they really bring out the mineral and earthy characteristics of the wine.


Lallier Grand Réserve Grand Cru, NV Aÿ, Champagne, France

An Abaco favorite, Lallier delivers every time. This particular blend is 60 percent Pinot Noir and 40 percent chardonnay, which brings backbone, brightness, and tons of fruit. Fried chicken longs for a wine with soft bubbles and raging acidity. We may have found the perfect match! The next time you are ambitious enough to fry up some chicken yourself (or order in) make sure you have some Lallier on hand — and you are in luck because Abaco is currently running a special of 10 percent off 3 bottles or 15 percent off 6 bottles through the end of July!

Want to learn more about the world of wine? Pop by Abaco Wine and chat with the knowledgeable and talented sommeliers on staff. Want to get a little bit social? Abaco is back at it with even more of its popular weekly tasting events. Every week, the wine store and tasting room teams up with one of Miami’s hottest restaurants for a tasting that is as educational as it is delicious. Tickets to the tastings are $25, or free if you spend $50 in store that evening.  Embracing the season with summer-themed tastings, these events are a can’t miss. Up next? The return of The Salty Donut!

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