From Snow Day To Beach Day: Wine For Every Season

From Snow Day To Beach Day: Wine For Every Season

Some people don’t care what the thermometer says—they are red wine drinkers. Whereas a Napa Cabernet or a Cote-Rotie would prove a waste of money on a 90-degree day (because they'd be less than pleasant), there are many reds that will stand up to the heat. Likewise, sipping a floral and delicate Torrontes fireside is the equivalent of sipping water with a steak. White wine needs some “guts,” or richness, to be winter-worthy.

Here's how to select your seasonal juice:

1. Red Can Work In The Summer, If You Do It Right

Low-tannin wines are lighter on the palate than big reds. They are also lighter in alcohol—which translates to delightful, uncomplicated, and refreshing sipping for the summer. Big tannins clash with grilled goodies, and would drown out the more delicate flavors of summer’s light pasta dishes or grain and vegetable salads. If you chill a big red, the tannin will become more pronounced. Instead, try a slightly chilled Gamay or Cabernet Franc, which pair better with the simplicity of summertime fare. Check out:

2009 Paul Durdilly Beaujolais ($11)
2009 M.Plouzeau Chinon Rive Gauche ($14)

2. Winter Was Made For Rich Red Wine

On a cold winter’s night, comfort is coating your palate with a full-bodied red wine. Think of body in wine like gradations of milk: Is it skim, whole, half 'n half, or heavy cream? A wine that is rich and higher in alcohol will warm you up—hence “hot” as the trade term for this type of wine. Pair rich foods like stews, roasts, rich risotto, or a hearty Bolognese with a rustic Syrah or opulent Cabernet Sauvignon and you’ll welcome another snowstorm. Serve one of these at about 65˚ and explore the layers of depth a big wine can offer.

2008 d’Arenberg The Stump Jump Shiraz, Australia ($11)
2007 Desierto 25/5 Cabernet Sauvignon, Argentina ($15)

3. Summer White Wines; Less Is More

Quench your thirst on a hot day with a chilled, lean white wine, or better still, some nice cold bubbles. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on sparkling wine. Save the champagne for a special occasion and pick up a Cava or Prosecco for $10, chill well, and sip away. High acid is the key to refreshing whites. Stock up on Gruner Veltliner, Albariño, and Aussie Riesling and pair with grilled trout and ratatouille…or quaff alone by the pool. I recommend:

2009 Etz “Gruner”, Austria ($12)
NV Segura Viudas Cava Reserva, Spain ($9)

4. Rich Whites For The Fireplace

Some white wines drink like red wine, due to a rich grape being adorned with oak. California Chardonnay is a classic example of a “meal in a bottle.” Other fat whites, worthy of wintertime consideration are Savennieres, Alsatian Pinot Gris, and Rhone varietals like Roussanne and Viognier. These luscious wines are big enough to stand up to the fatty comfort foods of winter—like mac 'n cheese’s classy cousin fettuccini alfredo. Look for:

2008 Willm Pinot Gris, Alsace ($13)
2007 Cline Cellars Viognier, California ($13)

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