If you are like me, you find yourself drinking differently at different times in the year. With respect to spirits, winter is for scotch whiskey and bourbon old fashioned, and summer tends to be tequila spritzers and other refreshing drinks with clear spirits. When it comes to wine, for some it doesn’t ever really be a bad time to open up a big juicy red, unless you’re in the pool or outside in sweltering temperatures with high humidity.
Ironically, the summer wines in to be light, white and refreshing, while summer cuisine tends to be heavy, fatty and smoky. There has to be a way to enjoy our favorite wines even though the seasonality and environment might not be ideal. I personally find wine to taste different when it is too warm, and ones that have typically a cold profile, such as right Bank Bordeaux, or Napa Cabernet, will taste off when the environment is more of a warm profile.
While rosé tends to be an obvious summer choice, another great option is unoaked white wine. The malolactic fermentation that takes place with oaked wine tends to have a creamier, heavy mouthfeel that might not feel as good when it is warm outside. Something palate cleansing and refreshing, is a little bit more warranted. If you can’t pair a light white wine with your a big juicy steak or burger, consider chilling down a nice bottle of Grenache or Syrah blend, or Pinot Noir, and drinking at what we call a cellar temperature, 55 to 60°F or so. The colder serving temperature will preserve the acidity, which will do a lot towards making a good food pairing and also keeping the wine tasting fresh air crisp, and not flabby. These wines have lighter tannins which do well in warmer temperatures.
Still, if you’re going to pull out the big guns no matter what, and enjoy a trophy red wine outdoors with barbecue – come high temps or high humidity – there are some steps to mitigate the weather’s ability to change your palate. Keep the bottle out of the sun at all times. And don’t be concerned about keeping a bottle of red wine on ice or near an ice bucket to prevent it from overheating. Additionally, consider using smaller than normal stemware, so that the wine does not oxidize too quickly or warm in the glass too easily. With these steps, I am confident you’ll be able to enjoy the wines of your choosing whatever the weather holds.
2020 Lahat Lavan White Blend
2020 Oryah Queen of Hearts White Blend
2020 Lahat GSM Red
2019 Marchand Burgundy