For my friends and me, summertime is all about firing up the grill, lazing around and finding ways to stay cool. Sure, a nice, cold beer is great for such an occasion, but there’s something to be said for treating yourself to a light, warm-weather wine. Here are some serving suggestions for getting the most out of summertime wine.
Stick to light-bodied wines.
A light-bodied wine is one that is lower in alcohol content and feels similar to water (rather than whole milk) in your mouth. Lighter wines are perfect for warmer months because they will quench your thirst (instead of making you thirsty), keep from weighing you down (higher alcohol wines will tire you out more quickly), and pair better with summer fare. Popular light-bodied wine styles and varietals include: rosé, sparkling wine, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Viognier, Pinot Noir and Beaujolais.
Warm wine is a big no-no.
Wine that is too warm has an unpleasant bite and loses its freshness, flavors and aromas (and the taste of alcohol will dominate your palate). It also doesn’t go down as easily as wine that has been chilled. The ideal serving temperature for white wine is between 45-55°F, while a red wine should be served between 60-65°F. Keep in mind that the ideal temperature for red wine is cooler than the average room temperature, so you may need to put red wine on ice for 15-20 minutes before serving.
Keep an ice bucket and salt nearby.
An ice bucket (or two!) is essential to ensuring that your wine tastes great, whether one minute or three hours after popping the cork. Keep a jar of salt nearby to help melt the ice and speed up the chilling process.
Small pours are ideal.
Warm weather means that the wine in your glass will warm up faster than usual. Ensure that the wine you’re drinking stays fresh by pouring smaller amounts at a time into your glass and placing the bottle in a nearby ice bucket for easy refills.
Stay away from stemless glasses.
Although modern in style and great for avoiding spills, stemless glassware is not ideal for warm weather. The stem on a wine glass exists for a reason, and that is to keep the wine away from your warm hands and body. This is even more critical during the summer months, when your body and the weather are warmer than ever.
Look for portable wine and stemware.
Have you ever brought a bottle of wine to a party or an event, only to realize that there’s no corkscrew in sight? Summer is the season for picnics, pool parties, road trips and other outdoor activities, so in order to avoid this “uh-oh” moment while on the go, consider bringing along a bottle with a screw cap closure instead of the traditional cork closure. Make wine glasses portable and avoid the dangers of broken glass outdoors by checking out some polycarbonate or acrylic stemware options.
My rule-of-thumb is to drink one 8 oz. glass of water for every glass of wine. Combining warm weather with alcohol consumption means that your risk for dehydration goes way up. Stave off the sluggishness by switching off between water and wine each time you go for another drink.