Labor Day 8-30-2023

Next Monday brings us to the annual bittersweet pivot from the adventures and tribulations of summer to the prayed-for succor of autumn. Labor Day. Continue reading “Labor Day 8-30-2023”

Beat the heat with wine 7-12-2023

If you live in the southern part of the USA, summer 2023 has been a horror. Record-breaking high temperatures, the sort of records no sane person wants to brag about. Continue reading “Beat the heat with wine 7-12-2023”

Wine and hot weather 7-5-2023

John Steinbeck, riffing from Shakespeare’s Richard III, wrote: “Now is the winter of our discontent, made glorious summer by this sun…” Continue reading “Wine and hot weather 7-5-2023”

Christmas summer 12-21-2022

It is high summer in South America. Time to hit swimming pools and beaches while wishing everyone “Feliz Navidad!” Continue reading “Christmas summer 12-21-2022”

Thanksgiving 2022 11-16-2022

Some people are intimidated by wine choices for the big Thanksgiving family feast. There is no reason for discombobulation. Continue reading “Thanksgiving 2022 11-16-2022”

Everyday, commodity wines 11-9-2022

November and December are the heaviest wine-buying months of the year. People not into wine—or even alcohol—indulge during the harvest feasts of Thanksgiving and Christmas and the bacchanalian excesses of New Year’s. Continue reading “Everyday, commodity wines 11-9-2022”

Wine and Halloween candy 10-26-2022

Every few years I recklessly throw caution and good judgment to the wind and confront pairing wine with Halloween candy. So here it goes. Continue reading “Wine and Halloween candy 10-26-2022”

Chilled red wines 7-6-2022

NEWS FLASH: We are in the “Dog Days of Summer,” or “High Summer” as it was called in the Old South. Whatever you call the scorching time between early July and mid-August, it is time to chill your wines.

That includes chilling red wines. Forget the myth that chilling reds means killing reds. Lighter, less alcoholic, less tannic, less oaky red wines do fine chilled. And, yes, you can even put an ice cube in your glass if you wish.

Some chillable reds:

• Cinsault’s delicate tannins and its strawberry and cherry flavors show well when chilled.

• Gamay, best known for its use in Beaujolais. Chill its lighter-bodied iterations.

• New World pinot noirs with lighter bodies and more fruit-forward approaches work well. Heavier pinot noirs, including lower-end, mass-produced pinots are not as suitable.

• Zweigelt, Austria’s most-planted red, brings cherries and chocolate and soft tannins to the chilled red strategy.

Zweigelt leaf and grapes. Photo by Bauer Karl.

You likely have other favored lighter reds. Experiment. If you don’t like the red chilled, leave it alone and in this season of triple-digit days, it will warm up soon enough to be enjoyed in your air-conditioned abode.

General tips:

• Chilled reds should be between 50 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

• Chill the bottle to your refrigerator’s temperature, then take it out an hour before serving.

• Conversely, put the bottle in your refrigerator 30-45 minutes before serving.

• Chill in a bucket of ice and water—ice alone is too slow. Add salt to the water speed things up even more.

If you are not willing to warm to chilled reds, you can always fall back on chilled rosés and light, bright whites. There is no reason to eschew wine just because cows are producing evaporated milk and hot water is coming out of both your taps.

Tasting notes:

• Sokol Blosser Estate Rosé of Pinot Noir, Dundee Hills, Oregon 2021: Chill out with this chilled on a hot summer’s day. $17-25 Link to my review

• Domaine de Cala Rosé, Coteaux Varois, Provence 2021: Restrained red fruits flirt with your palate rather than assault it; 60% cinsault. $19-21 Link to my review

• McCay Cellars Rosé of Cinsault, Lodi Appellation 2019: Provence-style rosé from quality Lodi producer. Follows cinsault varietal profile very closely. $35 Link to my review

Last round: It was so hot farmers fed their chickens ice so they wouldn’t lay boiled eggs. Wine time.

Father’s Day 6-15-2022

When this wine column began more than 14 years ago, Father’s Day was not a topic. Men drank beer, women drank wine. That was just the way it was. Continue reading “Father’s Day 6-15-2022”