Summer Wines: how to pick the best ones
It is a truism, as the days get longer and warmer, our minds turn to images of Summer sunsets and barbeques in the countryside.
You will also notice that Summer Wines are often companions of those idyllic pictures.
We think that perfect companions for the Summer days may only be light bodied white and rosé wines, but there can be so much more.
I have put together a brief rulebook that can help you to decide which wines you can choose in the coming weeks.
ACIDITY AND MINERALITY ARE YOUR FRIENDS
To better understand what acidity and minerality are, just sit for a minute and imagine yourself tasting respectively lemonade and soda water.
Now pay attention to how your mouth puckers just from thinking about it.
Acidity and minerality are in fact connected to the process of salivation and the fresh sensations it brings to your palate.
Therefore, when you read in the description of Summer Wines words like “crisp acidity” and “huge minerality”… just go for it!
BUBBLES ALWAYS HELP YOUR SUMMER WINES
Sparkling wines are normally served at temperatures around 6° and 8° C.
But this is not the only reason why they should be part of your “get ready for the Summer” kit.
Indeed, the tiny bubbles we find in sparkling wines enhance the physical sensation of freshness delivered to our taste buds.
Effervescence complements and accentuates the sensory characteristics of wine.
When a wine has high acidity and minerality, like the majority of white and rosé wines, bubbles just lift them.
AVOID HIGH ABVs AND STRONG TANNICITY
Alcohol and tannins improve structure, backbone and texture of a wine.
They are vitally important if a wine is intended to age.
They also bring sensory sensations, like warmth, bitterness and astringency, that are not really appreciated during the Summer season.
And this is why we should look for wines with lower alcohol – ABVs, ideally between 10% and 13% – plus soft, round tannins, like rosè or fruity reds.
In just a few words… keep your Amarones and Barolos in the cellar for now!
SUGARS AND FRESHNESS DON’T BELONG TOGETHER
In wine tasting you always need to keep in mind that sweetness decreases the sensation of acidity – a.k.a. freshness.
The perfect way to understand this is to compare how you react to tasting a raw lemon and a soft drink like cola.
Technically, they have a similar pH, but since cola is sweet, it is almost impossible to perceive its intensity.
For this reason, it is generally better to avoid wine with residual sugars in it.
PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT YOU PUT ON THE TABLE
Creamy, fatty and greasy foods are perfect for when it’s cold outside, but during the Summer we may want to cook something a bit fresher and more approachable.
In particular, light dishes with a consistent use of seasonal vegetables and fruit are the choice that can give you the best results when paired with the wines described above.
Why not try…
Casa Ferreirinha, Papa Figos Blanco (Portugal, £11.49) + Mediterranean-style pasta with onions, aubergines, pine nuts and raisins
Cantine Belisario, Lacrima di Morro d’Alba (Italy, £14.29) + chicken salad with bacon, pomegranate seeds, cranberries and goats cheese
Now, you just need to do some field tests with your favourite Summer Wines! Salute! ;-)
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