Part of relaxing at the cottage is often enjoying a glass of wine on the deck or the dock, but which wines, and how do we keep them cool when temperature soars?
That’s what we chat about on Global Television’s Morning Show.
Let’s start with the sparkling wines you’ve selected for us. Tell us about them.
Nothing’s more refreshing than a glass of bubbles in the summer heat. However, when you’re at the cottage, you’re not going to crack open a bottle of Dom Perignon Champagne. You want something affordable and delicious. That’s why I’ve picked Relax Bubbles, a bubbly from Germany—could there be a better name for a cottage wine? It’s only $13.95, but tastes twice as expensive as it costs.
What’s the best temperature to serve bubbly?
Sparkling wines served too warm become flat. But that’s not the biggest problem: opening a warm or room temperature bottle of sparkling wine will result in the fizz spraying everywhere. I know. I did it. Twice. Serve bubbly about 6-8° Celsius, just slightly above the average fridge temperature of about 4 Celsius. If you’re sitting by a lake or pool, the water temperature may be chilly enough to put your wines in the water, just keep them out of the direct sun.
Masso Antico Primitivo 2017
Salento, Puglia I.G.T., Italy
What if we forgot to put the bubbly in the fridge?
The fastest way to chill any wine is in a bucket of ice water, not a bucket of ice. The chilled water covers the bottle completely unlike the pockets of warmer air between unmelted ice cubes. And here’s a pro tip: add salt to your ice water as it’ll bring down the freezing temperature of your water and chill the wine faster. It should only take about 20 to 30 minutes versus several hours in the fridge.
Big House Winery The Birdman Pinot Grigio
California, United States
You’ve sent us some canned wines, tell us about those.
Canned wines are great for the cottage, especially if you’ve forgotten your corkscrew or you’re nervous about glass breaking by the pool. And the quality of wine in cans these days is terrific. I have two California wines from Big House. The first is a Pinot Grigio, which would be great with fresh seafood. The other is a Zinfandel, ideal for grilled burgers.
Big House Winery Cardinal Zin Zinfandel
California, United States
Is the temperature for white wine different from bubbly?
Yes, it’s often served too cold straight out of the fridge, which will numb its aromas. This is perfect if you have a really cruddy wine, but not with a tasty one like this Pinot Grigio. Serve white wine at about 10° Celsius. The glass should feel cool but not ice-cold. Pro tip: if your bottle or glass mists over with condensation, it’s too cold. Sweating bottles are great for beer commercials, but not for wine. Take white wine out of the fridge for about 15 minutes before serving it.
Why did you recommend this rosé?
This Ava Grace rosé from California has lovely aromas of tiny field strawberries and is just $9.85. This would be great with grilled veggies or chicken. I serve rosés at about the same temperature as white wines. Pro tip: feel free to put an ice cube or three in your wine without feeling wine shame. I do it often in this weather and at restaurants. Again, we’re not talking about Dom Perignon here, so consider this your license to chill. Besides, I find adding ice slows my consumption of alcohol and keeps me hydrated.
Ava Grace Winery Rosé 2018
California, United States
You have several full-bodied red wines here.
The first is Toro from Argentina, and it’s full-bodied with lots of dark berry flavours. It would be great with grilled meats. The second is Villaberta Valpolicella from Italy, which I’d pair with a grilled steak or lamb.
What’s the right serving temperature for red wines?
We often serve red wine too warm, which is like wearing a wool sweater and snow pants in your backyard in August. It just doesn’t feel good. The wine tastes alcoholic, flabby and tannic (that mouth-drying feeling we get from walnuts). The old advice about serving reds at “room temperature” comes from the days when the “room” was a drafty medieval castle of about 18° degrees Celsius not 30° degree weather.
Bodega Toro Winery Centenario Malbec 2019
So what if your red wine is too hot?
If your bottle is warm to the touch, it’s too warm to drink. Often that’s because we put our wine in the trunk of the car when we’re driving to the cottage. On a 30-degree day, it can get as hot as 40 degrees in your trunk with no air conditioning, so that not only will cook your wine and make it taste stale, but it can also push out the cork and cause leakage. So put your wine in the passenger back seat, and even better in a cooler.
But let’s say it’s still too warm. Use the ice bucket of water for 10-15 minutes to give it a light chill or try the wet t-shirt trick (it’s not what you think): soak a t-shirt or towel in cold water, wrap it around your bottle and put it in the freezer for 10 minutes. The wet t-shirt will freeze quickly, and therefore the wine will chill twice as fast as it would had you put it in the freezer on its own. If the t-shirt is stuck to the bottle when you bring it out, just run it under warm water and it’ll come off without heating up the wine too much.
Villa Annaberta Valpolicella Ripasso Superiore 2017
Veneto DOC, Italy
Don’t forget about your bottle in the freezer. Even though the freezing temperature of alcohol is lower than wine, it will eventually freeze and as liquid freezes it expands, so it will break your bottle, and your heart.