Even with all our modern conveniences and distractions, there’s something instinctual in us that informs the way we eat and drink season to season. As the weather warms up, we naturally gravitate toward wines that seem to make those balmy days go by just a little easier.
Not just for sheer pleasure — but for the sake of preserving quality, too — it’s important to store your wines the right way, especially in the warmer weather. Every style of wine has a different set of requirements. To keep those whites, rosés and reds at their best and to serve them at the perfect temperature, you’ll want a storage solution that’s up to the task. Here’s how to keep your wine game cool this summer!
Summer White Wines
Obviously, chilled white wines make sense for the summer. But another reason we find ourselves reaching for them is because they’re typically lower in alcohol. Alcohol is volatile and can overwhelm the senses at higher temperatures, but it also dilates our blood vessels, literally making us feel hotter.
Additionally, the high acidity in most white wines makes them versatile for pairing with seasonal cuisine, gracefully complementing the colorful palette (and palate) of light, fresh foods that appear in the warmest months.
Here are some classic whites for summer enjoyment:
- Sparkling wines like Champagne, Cava and Prosecco: Bubbly is so beautifully versatile, with its characteristic citrus, apple, pear and toasted biscuit flavors. Sparkling wines pair with everything from appetizers to dessert, making them the best wines to bring to — and serve at — any party.
- Sauvignon Blanc: A quintessential summer white with tropical fruit and a green, grassy quality that pairs well with salads and veggies.
- Crisp, mineral laden whites like Italian Vermentino, French Chablis and Greek Assyrtiko: Lithe enough to dance with fruits and veggies.
- Chardonnay: A slightly heavier, oaky Chard with tons of lemon, butterscotch and vanilla notes can be a perfect partner for spicy Southern BBQ!
“Rosé All Day” This Summer
Rosés are perfect during those dog days because they combine the refreshing qualities of a white and balance them with some of the complexities of a red, arguably making them the best summer wines. Rosés have tangy, citrus flavors; floral notes; and herbal nuances that are amazing with grilled white meats and veggies, but can also stand up to strongly flavored foods like salmon and even garlic aioli.
Here are a few great examples of summer rosés:
- French Provencal Rosé: Typically light, tart and fruity with flavors of orange, flowers and melon with a bracing acidity that cuts through fattier dishes.
- Spanish Rioja and Rueda Rosés: Sour citrus, strawberry and floral notes — a great foil for sweet dishes.
- French Rhône Rosé (Lirac and Tavel): A heavier, almost cranberry-colored style with tons of creamy body and tangy grapefruit — perfect for grilled fare!
Summer Red Wines
While there are no hard and fast rules, many people forego reds in the warmer months, which is a shame. There are dozens of red wines that make for great summer drinking, for many of the same reasons as the aforementioned: they’re lighter in alcohol and body, lower in tannins and higher in acidity. Oftentimes, you’ll even find these reds can take a slight chill, a practice common in the Mediterranean.
And of course, it’s grilling season! There’s almost no better complement to a grilled cut of red meat than a juicy, complex red wine. Here are some wonderful options:
- Lambrusco: Italy’s classic red/pink bubbly that can be dry to slightly sweet is an excellent match for charcuterie, grilled meats and chocolate desserts.
- Pinot Noir: Generally lighter in body, with tons of fresh red berries and some earthy notes, it’s great slightly chilled and served with grilled white meats, salmon and mushrooms.
- Chianti: There’s always a place at the table for Italian Chianti! With its sour cherry, Earl Grey tea and savory finish, it’s perfect with tomato-based fare.
- Beaujolais (Gamay): With blackberry, African violet and cassis on the palate, it’s traditionally served chilled in the summertime in France.
Zinfandel: A heavier red that’s not quite as bold as a Cabernet, but pairs well with red meats and sausages, making it the perfect pizza wine for those nights on the patio.
How To Store Summer Wines
When we think of wines worthy of aging, we tend to imagine only dense, tannic reds from classic top-growth regions. But there are many white wines (like German Riesling, French Vouvray and Chablis) and even rosés (Spanish Rosé from Rioja and rosés from Bandol, Lirac and Tavel in France) that can be cellared and will improve over time.
Wine experts and collectors agree that the ideal temperature range for wine storage is 55°F to 57°F (12°C to 14°C) with a 60% relative humidity, which is perfect for pulling out your summer reds and serving them without hesitation. But white and rosé wines are best served in the range of 45°F to 55°F (7°C to 12°C), slightly cooler than for reds.
What to do? Wine Guardian’s wine cooling cabinets are the perfect solution to keep all of your summer wines secure, chilled and ready to go! Self-contained, compact and configurable, our cabinets are available in single- and multi-zone configurations.
Multi-zone units allow you to create up to three separate temperature zones within the cabinet. This means you can store, age — and serve — different types of wine, each at its optimal temperature.
Single-zone units also have a serving temperature option, which offers an extended range from 42°F to 64°F (5°C to 18°C), meaning you can adjust the set point to accommodate any type of wine, and easily change it from season to season. Even if you already have a full cellar, Wine Guardian wine cabinets make a great in-between location to stage wines as they’re ready to drink. Restaurants, wine bars and hotels often use separate units for different wines, making it easy to change inventory and rotate seasonally.
In Review: Summer Wines and Proper Storage
Whether for long-term or immediate enjoyment, it makes perfect sense to store your wines in a cool environment, where they’ll be kept stable while aging properly, and ready to drink when you serve them.
Summer’s here, and it won’t last long: so, get the most out of those sunny days with good company, great food and the perfect glass of wine in hand. Serve and preserve the best summer wines with our new luxury wine cabinets – try configuring your own personal unit with the new wine cabinet configurator tool.