It’s summertime and the living may be easy, but it also is hot. A nicely chilled white wine or sparkling is a great complement when fish are jumpin’ and the cotton is high. Chill tips:
• Plan ahead. Put wine in the fridge the night before a daytime event, and in the morning before an evening event. Even sooner if you have refrigerator space.
• White wines rule in the heat, but if you serve reds, chill them, too, for 20 minutes or so before serving.
• Best way to cool anything is water and ice, not ice alone. Ice water provides complete contact and cools much more efficiently than ice alone, or air alone in a freezer or refrigerator.
• Make ice cubes with salt water. Salt water has a lower freezing point than plain water, so the ice is colder and will stay colder longer. Make sure you label the salt water ice, because it does not play well with cocktails or iced tea.
• Have more ice than you believe you will need, because you will need it. If you have an icemaker, consider bagging ice in days before your event. If you are buying bags of ice, buy extra.
• Steel tubs are more attractive than plastic tubs. If you must, a cardboard box lined with a garbage bag will work, but consider what guests will think. If you are icing white zin, however, the cardboard and garbage bag may appropriately promote the mise en scène. A clean bathtub or wheelbarrow also can work, depending on the tone of your party.
• Keep a stack of clean dish towels near the cooling station to dry bottles before pouring.
• Elk Cove Vineyards Pinot Gris Willamette Valley 2014: Sleek, clean, racy acidity (3.16 pH), polished, delicious, smooth, nice balance and length. $19-22
• Boutari Santorini Kallisti Reserve 2013: Greek wine made with assyrtiko grapes from volcanic island of Santorini in the Aegean Sea; rich, full white; put an assyrtiko wine on your wine bucket list. $23-25
• Simi Reserve Russian River Chardonnay 2013: Classic barrel and malolactic fermented California Russian River chard; mouth-filling, vibrant, semi-dry. $26-30
Last round: White wine, rosé, and sparkling wine are very similar to life. Chill for the best results.