Tips for Drinking Wine in Summer: Your Ultimate Guide
Summer is synonymous with lighter, more colorful clothes, salad-based meals and grilling. And so if that's the case, change out your wines with long aging in oak barrels and lots of tannins, for lighter, younger, aromatic and multi-colored wines. That is of course, you drink in addition to reds, white and rosé wines and even now natural sparkling wines!
Just as you change clothes in your wardrobe between the seasons of the year, so should you also swap out what wines to buy and drink.
When the heat is on, open a bottle of white or rosé wine with:
Light to medium body;
Think about what you're going to eat and avoid full-bodied wines with prolonged aging in wood.
The lighter the white or rosé wine, the lower the serving temperature, but never less than 6°C (42°F).
Otherwise you won't have aroma or flavor perception.
Sparkling wines in addition to natural gas are usually less alcoholic than other wines, making them an excellent option for hot days. And gastronomically speaking, they are easy to pair.
With a natural sparkling wine, you drop the serving temperature to 5°C (41°F), if the is white and Brut Nature.
As for the reds, avoid top of the range “heavy” wines, full-bodied, with lots of tannins. All these features will leave you feeling dehydrated, tired and yearning to drink water after a glass or two.
Instead, choose red wines:
With excellent aroma/flavor at low temperature;
A red wine with these characteristics will give you what your body and mind need on a hot day, that is, a refreshing sensation.
Temperatures and service
After the corkscrew, I would say that in summer you should always have a frapé and a bag of ice in the freezer on hand so that you can refresh any type of wine in fifteen minutes, including red!
The challenge then lies in always keeping the wine at the right temperature, without freezing it too much. We'll get there soon…
White, rosé, sparkling wines
For this type of wine I usually use the classic frapé.
If you don't have one, any container in which you can put the entire bottle in contact with the ice will do, from a pot to ordinary Tupperware.
Make sure the wine doesn't get too cold. Once in a while, you may have to remove the bottle from the ice and after a few minutes put it back in the frapé.
Drinking red wine in summer
The recommended temperature in summer for red wines immediately drops from the classic 18°C (64°F) to 15°C or 16°C (59°F - 60°F). Yes, depending on the season, or weather, wines can and should be served at slightly different temperatures.
It’s clear that not all red wines are compatible with a service at this temperature. Wines with a lot of structure and tannins will prove unpleasant on the palate, the tannins are more sharp, the aroma/flavor closes, giving little or no pleasure when drinking.
To keep the temperature of the red at the table, you can, for example, use a clay cooler. Pour water and ice cubes into it, then pour it out and place the wine bottle inside. The clay will maintain the temperature the wine is at.
PRO TIP: In summer, I always have a bottle of water in the fridge to use for my clay cooler ensuring that within just a few minutes it’s ready to be used. Also, you can place it on the table, it usually comes with a plate, and can be used as a decorative element as well.
Another option to maintain the temperature of red wine at the table is with cooler sleeves. Always keep 2 or 3 in the freezer, ready to use.
Wine by the glass
Double the care when drinking wine by the glass outside, as the temperature of the wine will skyrocket even before you take the third sip of the wine.
At home, you can choose to serve less wine in the glass, put frozen grapes in the wine (my favorite option) or use solid “ice cubes”. Holding the glass by the stem also helps to not increase the temperature of wine as well.
What not to do
Lastly, what you should never do - put the wine bottle in the freezer. Wine does not appreciate drastic temperature changes.
Depending on the alcohol content, the wine freezes around -5°C or -6°C (23°F - 21°F) and freezing is known to cause the organic chemical compounds in the wine to crystallize which can alter the taste of the wine.
The few times I did it, the wine lost its aromatic and gustatory expression. I regretted it immediately and do not recommend it.
Besides, many times, with other wines to drink, your bottle is invariably forgotten in the freezer.
The wine when freezing will expand and the cork will want to come out of the bottle. In the worst case scenario, the bottle will burst, especially if it is a natural sparkling wine.
So if this happens, never remove the cork. Carefully place the bottle in a safe place at room temperature until it thaws.
Then use the wine to cook, or make a sangria. With the movement of the stopper, air could have entered and the wine could quickly oxidize. So use it right away.
Drinking wine in summer at the right temperature requires some planning, so why not always have a bottle of wine in the fridge, so you can sip one glass while the other cools?
What bottle of wine, Portuguese or not, will you keep ready in your fridge for serving this summer?