My Top Five Wines for Poolside Sipping

by Liz Caskey on January 22, 2010

With this heat as of late, I have been feeling very lethargic. The only form of mid-afternoon relief seems to come in finding (friends) with a nice pool get-up and packing a picnic to hang at their house. The lazy days of summer have officially arrived. While I tan my scarily white body,  I have enjoyed sipping on these cool juices. When packing out, don’t forget the hodge podge of sun and wine things to take along in your tote: copious 50 SPF sunscreen (you’ll get tan, trust me, there’s a whole in ozone down here!), hat, fly swatter, corkscrew, crystal glasses, and an ice bucket.



Rosé used to be my least favorite wine variety—until I tried Domaines Ott from Provence one very, very hot day in Paris. Dry, spicy, and fruity with grapefruit and apricot notes, but not sweet, its chilled temperature and perfect acidity tasted remarkably fresh. Chile and Argentina are producing better rosés that now shy away from the “White Zinfandel”style. Thank god. The best rosés I have found are the very French-style from Aquitania in Chile, or Melipal in Mendoza.


This wine is synonymous for summer, for me at least. It is served very cold and has vibrant acidity, a light body, and a little pizazz from jasmine flowers to orange aromas. It goes down as easily as water and usually doesn’t cost much more. Most Torrontes average from US$10-15 in the market. Try Susana Balbos Crios, O. Fournier‘s Urban Uco, or if you can find it, Altavista’s Premium Torrontes.

Sauvignon Blanc

This green-skinned grape originating in the wine lands of Bordeaux gets its name from sauvage (wild) and blanc (white) referring to its indigenous roots in Southwestern France. Now cultivated across the world from New Zealand to California and Chile, a good example is usually, dry, crisp and refreshing. I am smitten with Chile’s Sauvignon Blanc coming from the coastal valleys like Limarí, San Antonio, and the new Colchagua Coast. Producers like Maycas and Garcés Silva really redefine zesty—and yummy. Now if I could get that poolside with some oysters or goat cheese…


Go Gamay Noir, Beaujolais’s beloved grape. This region in France, north of Lyon, pumps out young, fresh red wines with barely 9% alcohol and a light body. There’s something youthful about them: fun, full of fruit and vibrancy, and only meant to be savored and consumed each summer. It also is an ideal party wine to beat the heat since 1. You serve it cool and 2. The price tag makes it quite palateable.

Pinot Noir

You know, usually I am down for a Pinot with just about any food or wherever I am. It is a chameleon-type wine. Revered as the “white” of the reds, its ability to combine with anything from steak to seafood is only rivaled by Champagne, in my humble opinion. I like Pinot –a lot, but am specific in what kind it is. If it is aged, complex and hails is a Grand Cru from Burgundy or a fine Oregonian variety, chances are, I won’t be drinking it chilled nor poolside. However, if it is a happy-go-lucky fruity version, you bet. In Chile, I love Villard’s Pinot Noir Expression, Matetic Vineyards, and Alazán from Kingston, all in the Casablanca valley near the sea. Serve them slightly cool, not chilled. On second thought, maybe I should drink these in the shade.


Emily January 22, 2010 at 5:52 pm

MMMMM….these picks sound great! I recently tried some albariño/vinho verde from Spain and Portugal and loved them. Any thoughts on these?

Also, where was the second poolside photo taken? It’s beautiful! (as well as the first!)

Liz Caskey January 24, 2010 at 3:13 pm

Oh yes, those are other favorites, albeit not easy to find in Chile. I had an amazing Albariño from Bodega Bouza in Uruguay which is now in the US market. The European counterparts are so nice since you get a break on the alcohol %.

As for the second pool, that is at Vila Kilongo in Jericoacoara in Northeastern Brazil. We spent 5 days there on our honeymoon before traveling up the dune-studded coast to Lencois Maranhenses and Sao Luis. Spectacular to say the least. We have our Brazil articles (in LAN) on our website if you want more travel info.

dave January 22, 2010 at 8:30 pm

Liz…isn’t your first photo of the pool at Casa Lapostolle?

You use a shot of their lovely pool, but they don’t get mentioned for their exceptional wines!

C’est la vie!

Of course, I could be wrong.

Anyone else recognize the first picture?

omegaet January 23, 2010 at 2:14 pm

Good catch, Dave.

My guess is the first swimming pool photo was taken at Casa Lapostolle….adjacent to the dining area. We took a couple of shots of the same swimming pool and lovely vineyards and Andes during a recent visit.

Speaking of CP….their Tanao Blanc, might have been a nice wine to have included in this “pool side” selection.

However, we need to remember, this blog belongs to Liz and she can include here choices…not our choices, necessarily.

Liz Caskey January 24, 2010 at 1:03 pm

You guys are on the mark! I do like Casa Lapostolle wines, more their reds than the whites to be honest. Since they are fairly hearty I tend to not associate them as pool lounging wines. With heat in the 90s, I want refreshment. The post was more about wine styles and a few examples that came to mind. Please feel free to share your suggestions of other varietals and specific wines. Everyone will benefit from it! Cheers. :)

Dave February 5, 2010 at 7:33 pm

…well, Liz, I’m a “rojo” kind of guy and if I drinking vino from Chile, I usually reach for a nice carmenère, such as Viñedos Terranoble’s Reserva…this works just fine for me, pool side, seaside, mountain side or bar side.

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