Summer wine

The hot summer months present a classic opportunity to enjoy cold white, rose or even sparkling varieties.

Summer Wine_311 (photo credit: MCT)
Summer Wine_311
(photo credit: MCT)
Enjoy wine in the summer by matching the wine not to the food but to the occasion. Now is the time to buy what you like and not worry what others think. For the growing number of wine lovers who like to boast that “they only drink red wines,” the summer months give the classic opportunity to enjoy white, rose or even sparkling wines.
Where to buy for summer drinking? I always suggest a place where there is a fast turnover of stock. A supermarket or wine shop where the wines have been kept correctly is ideal.
Sparkling, sweet dessert wines or simple white wines should be served very cold.
Quality white wines, like a Chardonnay or a Viognier, should be chilled and even light fruity red wines are best lightly chilled.
When you have bought your wine, be aware that a domestic fridge will chill a wine in an hour. At the last minute it would be more effective to put the bottle in a freezer for 15 minutes. However, don’t forget it, because the wine will freeze to slush, which will destroy the quality and the bottle may explode!
For the quickest result, the solution is the simplest. Put the wine in a bucket or sink full of iced water, add a pinch of salt and the bottle will be cold in 10 minutes. This is the ice-bucket principle you know from weddings and restaurants! At a picnic, try wrapping a wet rolled up newspaper around a bottle or use one of the ice freezer sleeves available in some wine shops. Both methods really work.
If you are buying wine in a restaurant, insist on an ice bucket for your white and rosé wines. However, to be effective, ensure the ice bucket is full not only of ice, but also water. Even some red wines will benefit by 10 minutes in an ice bucket.
If you want to ensure the temperature remains correct, be sure that glasses are not overfilled as wine warms up quickly in the glass.
So what to drink?
The classic and most stylish drink is champagne, which apart from anything else is perfect with strawberries and summer fruits. Cava from Spain and Prosecco from Italy are in fashion and less expensive alternatives. However there are good Israeli sparkling wines at every price from wineries such as Carmel, Golan, Tabor and Tishbi. So if you want to support Israeli wine, there is now the variety to allow you to do so.
Rosés, derided by wine snobs for years, are suddenly back in. Consumers are realizing a wine does not have to be sophisticated to be enjoyable. A rosé or blush wine is perfect for the summer. The delicate pink color and touch of sweetness make this a great picnic wine.
If you are trying to choose one wine to please everyone, a semi-dry white wine made from Emerald Riesling will be popular with a greater number of people. If you want a semi-dry wine which is more sophisticated, maybe a Gewurztraminer will be appropriate. A wine that will surprise is a Moscato, made from Muscat grapes. This is a light, grapey, sweet, slightly sparkling wine, which is also low alcohol. Moscatos originate from Italy but there are also some good examples from Israel. People who don’t like wine will love it and it will make wine lovers smile!
However, if you prefer drier wines go for a light-style Chardonnay, preferably unoaked, a refreshing or an aromatic Sauvignon Blanc or one of the new Viogniers, which are proving popular with connoisseurs.
For a barbecue, a light red with good fruit and balancing acidity can be versatile and refreshing with both meat and fish dishes. Here you are looking for a young red drinking wine, which has not been aged in oak barrels. A light Cabernet Sauvignon or young Merlot will suffice. This style of wine will be available at a less expensive price in a supermarket. You just have to choose a wine with the fruit to give you mouth-filling flavor and the acidity to make it refreshing. To put it more simply, buy the wine you like! As for myself, my two favorite summer drinks are Bucks Fizz and a white wine spritzer. Bucks Fizz is champagne with freshly squeezed orange juice added, though any dry sparkling wine will do. For a white wine spritzer simply add soda or sparkling water to an ordinary white wine.
Serve it very cold in a long glass. It is good for your friends who are diet conscious, is very refreshing and one bottle of wine used like this will go a long way.