By Bob Lipinski
Summer is upon us in full force. The surf and sun beckon while lazy days lounging poolside or swinging in a hammock entice us away from daily chores. Seeking relief from those hot summer days can indeed be a tedious, tiresome task. Chilled wines not only add enjoyment and lift to your step but are refreshing as well.
Now, while grilling steaks or rings of sausage, I’m looking for plenty of water or beer to quench my thirst. Although there’s nothing like a chilled glass of wine, it’s best when it’s dry with little or no oak. The rule of “drinking red wine at room temperature” may work inside a cave, but not when it’s 90-plus degrees outside and around 500 degrees next to my grill. That sure isn’t room temperature to me! At those times I sometimes quench my thirst with red wine served over ice with chilled seltzer. Sacrilegious, heresy you say!
Now, forget Bordeaux, California Cabernet Sauvignon, and Italian Barolo… they’re best for cooler outdoor weather. Young, fresh, light-bodied red wines (see below) taste better when chilled, no matter whether it’s summer or winter. So, take a large glass and fill with ice, then fill three-quarters with one of those fruity reds, add seltzer, and an optional twist of lemon or lime.
Here are some of my hot weather favorites:
2018 Château de la Maltroye “Chassagne-Montrachet,” Burgundy, France. Straw yellow with a fruity bouquet and flavor of citrus, apples, pineapple, and smoky oak. Dry and clean tasting with a minerally finish. Pair with crab cakes dusted with some Old Bay.
2020 Ron Rubin “Pam’s Unoaked” Chardonnay, California. It’s a screwcap with a handwritten label. Aroma and flavor of coconut, pears, and apples. Easy to drink with just a hint of sweetness. Served well chilled with roasted chicken stuffed with plenty of fresh herbs.
2018 Ron Rubin Pinot Noir “Russian River Valley,” Sonoma, California. Cherry colored with flavors of cranberries, spices, vanilla, and plums. Good finish and long aftertaste. A dish of lasagna with sun-dried tomatoes would pair well.
2019 Melini “Chianti” Borghi d’Elsa, Tuscany, Italy. Dry and full-flavored with an elegant taste of blackberries, hazelnuts, plums, and licorice. Grilled spicy sausage with bitter greens works for me.
Other recommended wines are (white) Albariño, Arneis, Chenin Blanc, Gewürztraminer, Moschofilero, Pinot Grigio, Riesling, Torrontés, Vermentino, and Viognier. (Reds) Bardolino, Beaujolais, Côtes du Rhône, Shiraz, and Montepulciano d’Abruzzo.
Just remember … don’t overchill the wine or it will become “numb” in taste. Keep an ice-bucket filled with ice and water for a quick chill.
Bob Lipinski is the author of 10 books, including “101: Everything You Need To Know About Whiskey” and “Italian Wine & Cheese Made Simple” (available on Amazon.com). He consults and conducts training seminars on Wine, Spirits, and Food and is available for speaking engagements. He can be reached at www.boblipinski.com OR [email protected].