Wine Pairings are Different in the Summer

9 Aug

The temperature, humidity and the clothes we wear change in the summer, so why not the wines we pair with food? In hot weather high alcohol levels and big tannins increase sweating…ugh!…not for me!

Wines that can be cooled are more refreshing in hot weather, of course. Lower alcohol not only improves drinkability in hot weather, but you can sip more of it without feeling the effects of the alcohol.

Chilled white wines are a good choice. In the summer I put white wines in the refrigerator (typically around 38oF), or even in the freezer (from the fridge) for a few minutes. This goes against the standard that white wines should be chilled only to about 48oF for flavor, which makes sense in a cool environment. However, in the summer drink refreshing, easy to drink white wines and save the more expensive complex wines for the cooler weather. For example, try the Fontezoppa Verdicchio or La Fortuna Sauvignon Blanc. I suggest staying away from highly oaked wines (think chardonnay), unless you’re having lobster, scallops, fresh corn or rich dishes, especially ones with butter.  For instance, we plan to pair Fat Monk or Taft Street Chardonnay with lobster soon.

Dry Rosé wines are a great option for hot weather. They are versatile for pairing with summer foods salads, vinaigrettes and even hot dogs and hamburgers, and you can cool them like a white wine. Some rosés are lighter, perfect as an aperitif or easy “porch” drinking, such as the Terre Deor Raboso. Others are “bigger”, suited for dinner, such as the Etude Rosé of Pinot Noir.

If you have to have “red wine” then try one in the category we call “Fresh and Juicy”. These are red wines with very little tannins, and that can benefit from cooling…put them in the refrigerator for 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the starting temperature. Red wines in general should be served at about 68 oF, so if they’ve been sitting around at home in the 70’s oF, the wines should be cooled anyway. For “Fresh Reds” cooling to near 60 oF will add to their being refreshing. For example, try our Batasiolo Dolcetto or Les Mureaux Chinon.

If you’d like to try some summery wines before buying, stop in at Pairings to taste six wines (paired with food and free to taste) this Saturday or next (4-7pm) and receive 20% off on any of the six wines (or foods) you decide to purchase. 600 Main St., Winchester, MA, 781-721-WINE(9463).

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