Aaah, summer. The heat, the beach or lake trips, the open-air gatherings, the barbecues… and the wine, too!
With the covid-19 pandemic, plans really are not the same anymore, but it surely doesn’t mean the season is ruined.
Depending on how your country’s guidelines for social interactions are, this shouldn’t be much of an issue, then. And there’s also the fact that you might be enjoying with your closest ones, so nothing changes in that case!
Oh, sorry if I forgot to reintroduce myself. I’m Breno, today giving you a take on how to enjoy wine in the best way this summer.
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For many wine appreciators, summer means sparkling, white or rosé wines, for example.
One can understand why: these are always served best at colder temperatures, as we have recently shown.
Your best bet, if you’re only thinking about the freshest possible servings in the face of the warm or hot temperatures, is to look for sparkling wines or crispier, mineral, low-bodied white and rosé ones.
These are the wines that go best with the cold serving temperatures, being best at as cold as 5°-10°C (for the bubblies) and 7°-10° or 12° (for the lightest whites and rosés).
Sauvignon blanc-Sémillon, like white Bordeaux, are an opportune hint: Château Mouton-Rothschild Aile d’Argent blanc, for example, will do great. Pinot grigio, Riesling and others go well, too.
Thinking bubbles? Champagne, cava: never wrong! A personal favorite is vinho verde: deliciously light and slightly effervescent.
Since these are also the ones with usually lower ABV, they are sure great to withstand the heat, while stronger, full-bodied whites such as Chardonnay might feel more “dizzying” during warmer days.
That said, you can always consider pairing these lighter whites with various possibilities – from rich fish to lighter seafood, salads, salty tarts. I think of them kind of meal that goes quite well in many Mediterranean pairings.
Not everyone is a fan of sparklings, whites and rosés, right? Let’s see how we can still get going with reds, then, even if they’re not associated with the season.
Red wines in the summer: yes, you can
When it comes to reds in the season, there is always that looming discussion: how can I enjoy red wines for this summer?
(Especially if we take out of the equation the idea of turning them into a punch, a tinto de verano or a sangría…)
Yes, bolder red wines, when too warm or consumed under high temperatures, will go down somewhat heavy and mouth-dehydrating. The more full-bodied and tannic they are, the more water-craving I become after a glass.
Picture that when under a 35°C heat, with the bottle and the glasses always warming fast. Soupy, alcoholic flavors? Not my thing, personally.
But okay. Let’s say you want to have a barbecue. Some would recommend for these deliciously bolder reds – such as stronger Merlot, Douro, Tuscan blends, Malbec, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon -, instead of following the general rules of ideal serving temperature, dropping a couple degrees from the usual: letting go until 15°C.
But be careful not to go too cooler in there! Here’s the opinion of Sarah Jane Evans, co-chair of the Decanter World Wine Awards: “Chilling emphasises tannin and oak, so be careful to serve a well-structured red only a few degrees cooler than usual.”
What you can do if you feel full-bodieds are too heavy for the heat, is go with lighter styles – ones that are fruitier, with low tannins and not so oaky.
Some Burgundy lovers will rejoice, as the ever-famous Pinot Noir is a perfect example of this and is also versatile, for example, with quite different barbecue meats – from fancy salmon to classic sausages and other great intersections between fish, pork, poultry and more.
Keeping it light and low-bodied, you can also think of Beaujolais, Gamay, Valpolicella… these chilled wines have nothing to lose against whites and rosés when it comes to sipping under warmer weather.
Hope you have had some inspiration here. And now go make the best out of your summer, will you? Time to enjoy.
See you next time!