Days grow hotter and longer, and those voluptuous high-alcohol wines of winter don’t sip so well now in the sizzling sun. What is a wine lover to do?
When you need to beat heat, well-chilled white and light is right, especially when sunshine stretches past dinner hours thanks to the abomination of daylight savings time.
If you are a curmudgeonly confirmed red winer, slightly chilled lighter reds work: gamay and barbera are easy to find. Even heavier cabs and zins can do summer work when slightly chilled. Not right-out-of-the-fridge cold, but cool.
Wine coolers and wine punches are another way to go, with the added benefit of being amenable to making in bulk to accommodate long afternoons languishing by the pool or postponing yard work. Sangria is a classic. Here’s a recipe; try it, modify it, make it your own.
Start with almost any wine. Red or white, doesn’t really matter: California merlot-in-a-box, Yellow Tail Shiraz, Ste. Genevieve Pinot Grigio, low-end zin, or other sweeter value wine. There is no need to blow dough, the wine is just one part of an ensemble cast.
This recipe is for one bottle; multiply ingredients to suite your party’s size. Figure two-to-four people per 750 ml bottle. Estimate on high side; even non-wine drinkers will enjoy this, and it is inexpensive enough you will not lament if you throw some away.
• 750 ml of wine
• 1 lemon, 1 orange, 1 lime, 1 red apple. Cut into thin wedges, do not peel or squeeze to make juice
• 2 tbsp sugar
• 1 cup orange juice with pulp
• ½ cup lemonade
• 1 can (20 oz) of diced pineapple (include juice)
• 3 shots triple sec or Grand Marnier
• 4 cups chilled ginger ale
• 1 cup raspberries or strawberries (fresh, thawed, or frozen)
Pour wine into pitcher/container. Add lemon, orange, lime, apple slices, pineapple, sugar, orange juice, lemonade, triple sec/Grand Marnier. Chill overnight: this is important; the best sangrias marinate at least 12 hours.
Add ginger ale and whole berries before serving. Serve with ladle so people can eat fruit. Serve straight or over ice. Try this weekend; refine to your taste; save for a column coming in two weeks.
Last round: We must save the Earth. It is only planet we know of that produces wine.