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Wines to cool the savage summer

This time of year Uncorked seems to have a recurring theme: what to drink in the sweltering summer heat. The urge may be to skip the wine and reach for an icecold hoppy beer, but that’s not the only way. There are plenty of wines fit for summer if you’re willing to look beyond heavy reds. Here are a few to cool off your summer shopping list.


  • 2010 Folonari Pinot Grigio, Italy (about $12 retail)
  • 2010 Big House White Blend, California (about $10 retail)
  • 2010 Lindeman’s Bin 77 Semillon–Chardonnay, Australia (about $9 retail)
  • 2009 Delicato Pinot Grigio, California (about $8 retail)
  • 2009 Penfolds Koonunga Hill Chardonnay, Australia (about $15 retail)


  • 2009 Wente Vineyard Estate Sauvignon Blanc, California (about $17 retail)
  • 2009 Rutherford Ranch Chardonnay, California (about $19 retail)
  • 2009 Sineann Pinot Gris, Oregon (about $24 retail)
  • 2009 Pascal Jolivet Attitude Sauvignon Blanc, France (about $25 retail)
  • 2009 Chateau St. Jean Sonoma Pinot Noir, California (about $39 retail)

Rose soothing on a searing hot day

As temperatures reach sweltering levels many readers are asking similar questions when it comes to summer heat and wine.

Can you drop a few ice cubes into your wine to give it a quick cool-down?

It seems the perfect solution to quickly cool a glass of wine, but it can alter the taste and balance. Wine, unlike other beverages, has a perfect balance of water, sugar, acid, tannin and alcohol. Adding ice disrupts this balance.

What is the fastest way to cool a bottle of wine?

Place the bottle in a half water, half-ice solution for 10 minutes or a quick freezer chill for 10 to 20 minutes.

Will leaving a bottle of wine in the car on a hot day make it go bad?

I consider myself a wine rule follower but last summer I forgot a bottle in my trunk in sweltering 100-degree temperatures. Not only did the cork start to push out and spew wine in my shopping bag but, worse, it tasted stewed. When wine is subjected to temperatures over 100 degrees, you can be sure its quality will be jeopardized. This can happen in a relatively small amount of time in cars with excessive inside temperatures. I like to treat wine as I would milk and ice cream. You wouldn’t leave these items in the car while you take on an afternoon of errands in summertime heat.

Can red wines be refreshing during the summer months?

Many people serve red wines entirely too warm, especially in the summer. If the bottle of wine is sitting out in your home it most likely will be warmer than if it was tucked away in a cool cellar. The tradition of drinking red wines at room temperature does not apply to consumers in sweltering heat. The ideal temperature for a red wine is best between 58 and 65 degrees. If your bottle feels too warm, pop it in the refrigerator for 10 minutes. Don’t leave it in too long or you’re left with a glass devoid of fruits and packed with tannin overload.

Is there one wine style you recommend for summer?

Rose, rose, rose (ro-zay). This perfect summer wine offers the cool, refreshing characteristics of white wine. I will stay on my rose wine soapbox until I am confident that wine lovers have given them a fair try. Many people still associate rose with its 1970s reputation: cheap, sweet, slightly fizzy — the pink drink at an afternoon cookout, wedding reception or even, unforgivably, a dinner party. The truth is a quality rose wine is neither sweet nor fizzy and in most cases bone dry, refreshing with beautifully aromatic characteristics ideal for summer menus.

Wines for summer’s simple supping

As the temperatures rise, summer menus lighten and we look for unique, refreshing ideas and tastes. The following are some of our favorite summer wines, along with food pairing suggestions.

Wines from Gruner Veltliner grapes are a great match with fresh herbs. Many of our dishes are simple and fresh during the summer months. Gruner Veltliner offers a balancing act with the herbs’ freshness and the simplicity of lighter meals.


  • 2010 Michlits Stadlmann Gruner Veltliner, Austria (about $18 retail)


  • 2010 Hirsch Gruner Veltliner, Austria (about $21 retail)

Pinot grigio shines with the catch of the day. Fish is a staple in the kitchen during the summer, and pinot grigio is the aristocrat of the white fish pairing — dry, crisp and austere. Keep in mind this pairing is at its best with fish’s simplest preparation, without heavy sauces and toppings, and without the flavor of a charcoal grill.


  • 2010 Loredona Pinot Grigio, California (about $8 retail)


  • 2010 Kris Pinot Grigio, Italy (about $15 retail)

Moscato d’Asti is the goto wine for fruity summer desserts. This summer pairing can be as simple as fresh peaches and ice cream.


  • 2010 Michele Chiarlo Moscato d’Asti Nivole, Italy 375 ml (about $14 retail)


  • NV Marco Negri Moscato d’Asti, Italy (about $20 retail)

Dry rose is summer’s perfect companion. Dry roses maintain summer’s laid back attitude, not needing detailed analysis or cellar notes to be enjoyed.

Simply grab a glass and begin the exploration. A few of my favorite pairings are tomatoes, mozzarella and fresh basil drizzled in olive oil, salad Nicoise and grilled vegetables.


  • 2010 Chateau Bonnet Rose, France (about $13 retail)


  • 2010 Turkey Flat Rose, Australia (about $20 retail)