Hopefully we haven’t had our hot Summer in May of this year. It was glorious and, COVID 19 lockdown aside, we had huge demand for white wines, light reds and of course rosé during the sunshine.
The question I’m repeatedly asked is, “do you ditch the reds and favour the whites, sparkling and rosé, during the summer?”
A good question indeed. And one that I intend to address in this post. So, stay with me and I’ll discuss popular white and suitable red wines for the summer. In addition, I’ll broach the subject of chilling red wines.
At the end of the post I have put together recommendations for 6 red + 6 white and one great value rosé. Read on and then call us to order whatever tickles-your-fancy.
Red Wine vs White Wine, during the Summer.
Many people suggest that drinking reds during the summer months, is a big no-no. They feel that red wine is for the cooler seasons and white for the warmer ones. For me – this is a little unfair on the reds.
That being said – I will agree that full-bodied, high alcohol wines do not pair well with most summer dishes. In fact, I would venture to say that you shouldn’t drink a red wine with a food that won’t do it justice.
I will also agree that very tannic reds that cause dryness on the palate may not be a sensation required during the hot days of summer.
So, what I would like people to accept after finishing this post, is this. Whilst not all reds are suitable for the picnic/summer table, equally, not all reds should be shunned either. I will give some examples later.
Whilst not all reds are suitable for the picnic/summer table, equally, not all reds should be shunned either.
Click To Tweet
What are Aromatic White Wines?
The trouble with trying to standardise the description aromatic wines is that the aromas in wine can vary in intensity depending on where and how the wine is made.
Let’s just say that such wines would have a notable floral and perfumed aroma. We say floral because they are similar to the scent of flowers such as rose petal, orange blossom, violet, jasmine and others. Two good examples would be Riesling (white flowers with lime and honey), and Albarino (delicate flowers with lemon and grapefruit). There are many other examples, but I think you get the gist.
A popular grape – sauvignon blanc could well be included in this group although it is known more for its distinctive grassy, herbaceous aromas rather than floral. As mentioned though, the way the wines are made plays an important role in determining the intensity of the aromas.
As an aperitif, a chilled glass of a wine of this style is delicious and works well for a group of friends or for a party.
The next time you are in Green Acres restaurant or wine shop ask for a dry aromatic white. There is a wide range to choose from that are suitable for many occasions. And when matching aromatic wines with food, try to match intensities of flavours and both the wine and the dish will benefit.
What are Summer Red Wines?
What I describe as summer red wines would be those described as “bright,” “fruity,” and “light-bodied.” And yes, it’s absolutely fine to chill some of them. Just think twice about anything that says “dry” on the label.
People tend to opt for white wines and rosés because they are consumed chilled. But as I’ve just pointed out, you can also chill light-bodies red wines e.g. pinot noir and Beaujolais? By the way, if you’re not actually eating outside you might be happy with a room-temperature Cab Sauvignon or Malbec with your meat from the BBQ.
Once again, when asked which wine is better to drink during the summer, I always answer that “it depends”. What are your personal tastes, what are you eating and what’s the occasion? There are no rules as such, but I suggest being careful when chilling high tannin red wine which accentuates the bitterness.
So, yes, you can chill summer red wines. As a rule of thumb, think good primary fruit and low tannin.
Here are some red wines that you might consider chilling:
- Valpolicella Classico
- Pinot Noir (light style)
- Cabernet Franc (Loire Valley)
- Others – depending on the winemaking style.
Chilling Summer Red Wines
I think that you’ve got the message now that the most refreshing way to make red wine a part of your summer routine is to chill it. Chilling reds brings out their liveliness and minimizes the warming sensation of alcohol.
What is the best way to chill a bottle of red for summer sipping? Try an ice bucket or cooler. If the bucket isn’t big enough, simply put it in your refrigerator for 30/40 minutes before you plan to drink it.
Other Frequently Asked Questions about Chilling Summer Red Wines
Q – How long should you chill a red wine for?
A – Be careful as much below 12°C and aromas and flavours become muted. Ideally, chilled red wines are served at a temperature between 12 to 16°C
Q – Should you chill a full-bodied red wine?
A – Even for full bodied reds, such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Shiraz, it’s important to stop the wine getting too warm before serving. Chill it down slightly and flavours come into focus and the wine is more refreshing to drink. However the more chilled the more bitter it gets.
Q – Which is better the fridge door or the body of the fridge?
A – Chilling bottles in the door won’t make a difference as far as time is concerned but if you are opening the fridge a lot (preparing food etc.) put the bottles further back on the shelves.
Q – Can I put the bottle in the freezer?
A – Yes – but only if you promise to remember to take it out after 30 mins. When the water in wine freezes, it expands and can push the cork out in part or full, or even crack the bottle.
Other ways of chilling a wine (other than the fridge)
- Use a cooler sleeve (when flat can be used under a decanter)
- Use a traditional ice bucket filled with ice and some water
- Use a plastic/metal wine cooler to keep it cool after chilling as described
- Brined ice water. Use a bucket or container, and add salt, water and ice. Ice absorbs heat from the water, which brings the temperature down.
- At home – pour a glass and put in fridge (quicker than a full bottle)
- Reusable ice cubes are good for single glasses of wine.
Some people ask if there are chilling habits to avoid? My answer is – Don’t try and chill an empty wine glass in the fridge; ice cubes when melted will dilute the wine; there’s no point in pouring wine into a zip-lock plastic bag and putting it in ice water. That’s a bit drastic!
Any Advice on Rosé wines?
I read in the recent Wine Market Report about how Rosé Now Makes up 6% of Overall Irish Wine Market. This doesn’t surprise me at all. Demand here in Green Acres has gone through the roof for our selection of rosés.
It is a while ago since James wrote about Rosé here – Prosecco & Rosé – where he outlined Rosé and some things you may not know about it. He also described the three major ways to produce rosé wine: skin contact, saignée, and blending.
So, I am not going to revisit the topic. Suffice to say in terms of relaxation signals, the sight of a glass of rosé is right up there with the sun lounger selfie and the smell of sun cream. It screams summer and sunshine.
Traditionally considered as a cheap and cheerful beverage, rosé has undergone a complete image transformation over the past decade. Here is a another good read from https://www.winebusiness.com/ on The rise of rosé from Provence.
As I write this post, the sun is shining here in Wexford. I promised earlier, and to help you to enjoy the good weather, here is my selection of summer wines:
Brundlmayer Gruner Veltliner “Hauswein” 2018, Austria – €20 per bottle
Barmann Gewurztraminer 2018, Germany – €19 per bottle
Barmann Muskateller 2018, Germany – €19 per bottle
Burklin Wolf, Villa Burklin Riesling 2018 – €19.50 per bottle
Benito Santos, Albarino Pequena 2018, Rias Baixas Spain – €17.50 per bottle
Cordero di Montezemolo, Langhe Arneis 2017, Italy – €22.50 per bottle
Cordero di Montezemolo, Dolcetto D’Alba 2016, Italy – €22.50 per bottle
Speri, Valpolicella Classico 2016, Italy – €21.00 per bottle
Hubert Lignier Bourgogne Passetoutgrain 2016 , France – €30.00 per bottle
Joseph Deshaires, Fleurie “Poncie” 2016, Beaujolais, France – €25 per bottle
George Vernay, Fleur de Mai Syrah 2017, Northern Rhone, France – €30 per bottle
Barmann Irhinger Pinot Noir 2017, Germany – €29.00 per bottle
Pezat, Cotes de Provence Rose 2019 – €20 per bottle
If you would like to order any of the above wines on offer please email me or ring us on +353 (0) 53 91 22975. Enjoy the rest of your summer.
#wearamask – Talk Soon – Donal Morris.