Summer Wine Pairing Series with Master Sommelier Craig Collins – Summer Wine Tips
With the Fourth of July right around the corner and warmer temperatures that appear to be staying for a while, we find ourselves enjoying friends and family outside around a grill and in need of liquid refreshment. Although beer and margaritas both work very well, we need not dismiss wine so quickly.
Before we begin talking about which wines to wet your whistle, lets discuss the best way to serve your wines this summer. It is said that we should serve our white wine chilled and red wine at room temperature, but what does that mean? The room temperature referenced is the room temperature of a wine cellar in France, rarely above 60 degrees and nowhere close to the room temperature of my home in Texas. Stick your white wine in the refrigerator until you want to serve it. The wine will be a bit too cold to begin with but will warm up to the appropriate temperature quickly. And for your reds, stick them in your refrigerator too! A quick 20 or 30 minute chill before serving will do wonders for their drinkability. With all that said, do not fuss too much about the temperature of your wine during these months. We want something that is cold and refreshing so make sure your wine is served that way. We entertained some friends this weekend around the grill and threw all the wine (even the reds) into the same cooler alongside the beer and water. No one seemed to complain and the wine was first thing to go.
So which wines to enjoy this summer? I look for wines that are lower in alcohol and wines that are not aged in new oak. These styles can be found from every country, are crisp and easily enjoyed and usually a little friendly on the wallet. For whites, enjoy the mineral and grapefruit notes of Sauvignon Blanc from Sancerre in France or a Pinot Grigo that displays beautiful white floral notes and a hint of lemon. When it comes to reds, think about enjoying the lighter reds such as a Dolcetto or Pinot Noir. Both of these grapes are very versatile for food and wine pairing options and taste great at lower temperatures. And do not forget about rose wine. There are hundreds of great pink wines on the market today that are refreshing and are nothing like the White Zinfandel that our grandparents drank!
So do not let your wine consumption slow because of the warmer temperatures outside. Keep your wines cooler and experiment with the lighter wine styles being offered today, you will be happy that you did.
Craig Collins, Master Sommelier