Don’t Forget to Chill Your Reds!

“It’s too hot out to drink red wine.” This is a sentence I hear all summer long when working in my store. 90 to 100 degree temperatures seem to be a bit too warm for some to enjoy a glass or two of red. So, is Florida’s summer weather too hot to enjoy red wine?

One of the most important factors of enjoying red wine any time of the year is the temperature it is served. Red wine is not only cellared in cool temperatures, but it should also be served at cooler temperatures. Room temperature is what most people believe red wine should be served at. Standard room temperature is considered to be 70 degrees, which is not the proper serving temperature for any red wine. 55-65 degree temperatures are what most red wines should be served at. Florida’s room temperature in the summer is definitely higher than 70 degrees. In some cases, a wine that sits at room temperature is being served at 80 degrees or even higher!  When a wine is served too warm, you will taste more of the bitterness and alcohol. Warmer reds will drink unbalanced, which is not a very pleasant experience. It will feel more dry, sharp or harsh on the palate. When a red wine is served at a cooler temperature, it enhances the wine and lets you taste the flavors and smell the aromas better.

To me, there is nothing better than pairing a nice, rich red wine with something cooked on the grill. Whether it’s a steak, piece of pork or even a burger, I would instinctively pop a bottle of red to complement my grilled entree. Some of my favorite grilling wines are Vintner’s Mark 3 from Whitehall Lane winery ($21.99)–it is a blend of Cabernet, Merlot and Syrah, medium-bodied with flavors of black cherry, plum and cola, with smooth tannins–or Boedecker’s Stewart Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley, Oregon ($28.99) The Stewart 100% Willamette grown Pinot Noir which is oak aged for 18 months. It has flavors of strawberries and blackberry, with spices and earthy undertones, and silky tannins that result in a very smooth and flavorful finish.

Grilling

I don’t have a cellar or wine fridge, so I open my wine and then place it in the fridge about an hour before my meal to let the wine cool and breathe. If I’m enjoying an outdoor barbecue party, I maintain the wines cooler temperature with a corkcicle ($19.99) (yes, you can use these for red wines as well!). Next time you are planning a barbecue, stop in and buy some red wine to pair with your grilled dishes. Maintain their temperatures and wow your family and friends with a new food and wine pairing!

Brian Regan, wine consultant at ABC Fine Wine & Spirits in Lake Mary. Follow me on Twitter @abcwinebrian.

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