The Do’s and Don’ts of Summer Wines

The Do’s and Don’t of Summer Wines

The temperatures are finally rising, the sun is shining, and you’re ready to enjoy the summer season. You’ve got your beer and pop chilling in the cooler alongside bottles of water, your cocktails are batched and in pitchers ready for enjoyment. But what about summer wines? Does a bottle need to be chilled – and if so, how chilled should it be for optimal enjoyment? And what about all these red wines, how do you handle those when it’s warm? Look no further: this how-to guide gives you the dos and don’ts for summer sipping:

DO chill your sparkling, white, and dessert wines

Sparkling wines should be on ice in a chiller to keep them as cold as possible for best results (they can warm up a bit in the glass, and this helps keep the bubbles as brilliant as they can be)

Light whites (e.g. Sauvignon blanc, Riesling, Pinot Grigio) should be almost as cold as the bubbly to keep them refreshing and zesty

Medium- and full-bodied whites (e.g. most Chardonnays, Viognier, most white blends) can be served a little warmer than light-bodied whites to allow them to better express themselves. Once they’re cold, feel free to remove them from the fridge or the chiller 30 minutes before serving. Sweet wines of all shades (ice wine, port, sherry, etc.) should follow the same path as your medium- or full-bodied whites

DON’T put ice directly into your beverage

As the ice melts, it will dilute your wine’s flavors and aromas.  For sparkling wines, ice in the glass will temporarily increase the fizz and cause it to go flat more quickly. If you insist on ice in your wine, consider a red or white sangria recipe

DO chill your red wines

Your lightest red wines (e.g. Beaujolais, Cinsault, Pinot noir, Loire Valley Cabernet Franc) are low in tannin and high in acid. So, you’ll want to keep these feeling fresh and juicy by popping them into the fridge around 45 minutes to an hour before serving

Fuller reds (e.g. Malbec, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon) should also spend some time chilling to the tune of around half an hour before you’re ready to serve them so the warm temperatures don’t exacerbate their higher levels of tannin and alcohol

DON’T opt for oak

Wines with pronounced notes of oak (e.g. toast, char, vanilla, baking spices) tend to be less successful when the temperatures rise as that can overwhelm aromas and flavors of fruit

You can look instead for wines fermented and matured in stainless steel or concrete. That will preserve the fruitiness and floral character of your wines

DO look for cool climate regions

Wine regions in cooler climates tend to produce wines that are lighter in character due to higher acidity and lower tannin

Seek out both reds and whites from places like France’s Loire Valley, Austria, Germany, Australia’s Yarra or Eden Valley, South Africa’s Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, Chile’s Itata, or even the south of England for British bubbly (yes, it’s good!)

Story by Adam Knoezer / Photography by Lauren Petrilla

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