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Friday, May 19, 2017

What to Drink This Summer

As the warm weather approaches your taste in wine may change. It's natural to find yourself wanting something lighter and refreshing. Does this mean you're putting away the Cabernet until October? No, but probably drinking fewer big reds.

As the weather warms wine consumers generally look for wines that are more refreshing, crisp, and fruity. In white wines look for higher acidity, in reds look for higher acidity and lower tannins.
Sauvignon Blanc
"Refreshing, crisp and fruity" pretty much defines Sauv Blanc. Hot days and Sauvignon Blanc go together.

Chardonnay is the #1 selling wine so it is reasonable to assume a lot of it gets consumed in every season of the year. For the warmer weather get away from those big, soft, oaky, oily, buttery Chards. Instead look for something lighter and with less of the buttery flavors. It's difficult to pick these out on the store shelf so you may have to ask.

Sparkling Wine
Bubblies are refreshing, light, and lower alcohol making them a perfect summer wine. They also match with most lighter summer foods. You can't go wrong.

People usually put rosé and warm weather together for a good reason. Find something that's dry or off-dry that's light and lower in alcohol and you have the perfect afternoon patio beverage. Add in a little cheese and crackers.

Pinot Noir
Pinot is a lighter red that matches summer weather and summer BBQs nicely.

Another light red that's not really popular in the U.S. It's another good patio wine or can be used with lighter foods.

Cabernet Franc
Bordeaux grapes usually mean Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Cab Franc is the lighter little brother that won't seem to heavy at the end of a hot day. It'll work with the grilled meats, too.

Watch the alcohol levels
Higher alcohol wines and warm weather don't really go together. Lower viscosity wines (thinner) with higher acid (crisper) are the way to go.

You can put a chill on the reds
These lighter reds won't be hurt by a few minutes in the  fridge to just put a slight chill on the wine so it's at least lower than the air temperature. Reds should be down to a cool room temp. meaning if your house, including your wine storage, is sitting at 80 degrees the wine is way too warm.

But not too much on the whites
Colder isn't better as you lose the flavors of most white wines. Sparkling wines and Sauv Blanc can be served straight out of the fridge, most other whites and rosés closer to cellar temp. So if your Chardonnay has been sitting in a warm room put it in the fridge for just a half-hour or so to get it cooled down, but not cold.

Chilling a bottle of wine quickly
The fastest way is to submerge the bottle in an ice and water mix. Adding salt will lower the temp. of the ice water and chill the bottle very quickly (salt lowers the freezing point of water).

What are the Sonoma County locals drinking? Well...