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Robin Garr

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WTN/30 Second Wine Advisor: White wine when it's hot? Not!

by Robin Garr » Fri Aug 13, 2010 3:40 pm

White wine when it's hot? Not!

It's hovering just under 100F outside my office window again today (that's 38C for all of you in the rest of the world). It's been like this for week, there's no end in sight, and this morning's papers suggest that even the global climate-change deniers are suddenly starting to go "Uh, oh."

So, it's time to open up a bottle of ice-cold white wine, right?

Well, maybe not.

Wine enthusiasts seasonally speak of "summer sippers," the lighter, whiter, friskier wines that we can chill down and quaff when the weather outside is frightful ... frightfully hot. According to this theory, hearty reds are better saved for those crisp autumn days and on into frigid winter.

But doggone it, sometimes I just want a red. And after all, this is why we have air-conditioning.

So, the other day, when the outside temperature went over 100, I didn't think twice about slapping a couple of fresh, pepper-crusted locavore lamb chops and some garlic and fresh rosemary into a searing black-iron skillet.

I served it with a reasonably priced French red just made to match, a peppery and mouth-watering Brunel 2008 Chateau Saint-Roch Côtes du Rhône (featured below). I popped it in the fridge for about 45 minutes before dinner to bring it down toward cellar temperature (yes, it's okay to chill a red, just don't get it ice cold), and all was well.

I'd rather match my wine to the food than to the thermometer, thank you. Indeed, whites often go well with summer fare, from a refreshing shrimp salad to cool and spicy gazpacho. But there are plenty of red-wine-worthy cool summer dishes, too: Smoked salmon and Pinot Noir, anyone? Or a steak or lamb chop hot off the grill.

What do you think? Does sultry summer push you over to a steady diet of chilled whites and pinks, or are you willing to choose a red when it goes with dinner?

Brunel 2008 Chateau Saint-Roch Côtes du Rhône ($13.99)

Dark garnet with a transparent edge. Black and blue berries on the nose with just a touch of floral black pepper to add complexity. Mouth-filling, tart and snappy black fruit flavor, with a hint of plum and lemon-squirt acidity lingering. A typical Southern Rhone blend of 50% Grenache and 25% each Syrah and Cinsault. U.S. importer: Shaw-Ross International, Miramar, Fla. (Aug. 7, 2010)

FOOD MATCH: A wine made for red meat, fine with locavore lamb chops crusted with black pepper, pan-seared with fresh rosemary and garlic and oven-finished medium-rare.

VALUE: I'd buy more at this price.

WEB LINKS: The winery Website is available in French and English. Here's an English-language page about the Côtes du Rhône.
http://www.chateau-saint-roch.com/resso ... oneUk.html

FIND THIS WINE ONLINE:
Compare prices and find vendors for Chateau Saint-Roch on Wine-Searcher.com.
http://www.wine-searcher.com/find/Saint ... g_site=WLP
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Rahsaan

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Re: WTN/30 Second Wine Advisor: White wine when it's hot? Not!

by Rahsaan » Fri Aug 13, 2010 3:49 pm

Robin Garr wrote:Does sultry summer push you over to a steady diet of chilled whites and pinks...


Definitely not. Of course it depends somewhat on the eating conditions. In an environment where it remains hot at night and there is no air conditioning (i.e. an environment where room temperature will be too warm for red wine), I'm not likely to open red wine. But, even with air conditioning, I am still more likely to go with young wines as I find that the aged complexities of red and white wine can be diminished by the heat. But, like everything, it depends. A "normal" 80F day with air conditioning might not be such a big deal but when it gets over 100F that can be a different story.
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Re: WTN/30 Second Wine Advisor: White wine when it's hot? Not!

by Robin Garr » Fri Aug 13, 2010 3:53 pm

Rahsaan wrote:
Robin Garr wrote:Does sultry summer push you over to a steady diet of chilled whites and pinks...


Definitely not. Of course it depends somewhat on the eating conditions. In an environment where it remains hot at night and there is no air conditioning (i.e. an environment where room temperature will be too warm for red wine), I'm not likely to open red wine. But, even with air conditioning, I am still more likely to go with young wines as I find that the aged complexities of red and white wine can be diminished by the heat. But, like everything, it depends. A "normal" 80F day with air conditioning might not be such a big deal but when it gets over 100F that can be a different story.

Good answer, Rahsaan. For the august geeks hereabouts, this is pretty much a rhetorical question, although I do like to try to encourage Wine Advisor readers in general to challenge the conventional wisdom. I like your answer, though. :)
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Steve Slatcher

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Re: WTN/30 Second Wine Advisor: White wine when it's hot? Not!

by Steve Slatcher » Fri Aug 13, 2010 4:00 pm

For me it is not so much the ambient temperature that is important - it is the temperature of the wine. Providing you can keep the red wine at the correct temperature, I have not have problems drinking it.

Same applies to white. If anything, the problems keeping white at the right temperature in summer are even greater!
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Gord Haugh

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Re: WTN/30 Second Wine Advisor: White wine when it's hot? Not!

by Gord Haugh » Fri Aug 13, 2010 6:53 pm

My wife and I were discussing this topic this morning. We are attending an outdoor wedding at a farm tomorrow and the humidex is predicted to be about 40 degrees Celcius (104F). The dinner will be held in a very large steel barn/shed and despite the setting, it will be a traditional wedding meal. In fact they are serving a sit down dinner for 250. There is no doubt that there will be a very ample bar with both red and white wine available. Since I am not big on mixing my beverages, I have to decide what will quench my thirst before and after the dinner but still go well with the beef main course.

I have decided that I have two choices. 1. Water before and after and red wine with dinner. 2. Beer before and after and one glass of red with dinner.

The decision will probably rest on what I see on my first visit to the bar. If the red wine is sitting in boxes behind the bar--warming nicely in the sun, the choice will be beer and maybe one glass of wine with dinner. If someone has had the sense not to put all the available ice in the beer cooler, (as seems to usual at weddings where the younger crowd is predominant) and is letting the red wine chill a bit, I will start with the water, have the red with dinner and decide later on the rest of the evening. Sometimes, although not often, drinking wine is not the best choice.

Whatever the beverage, weddings are to enjoy and I will do just that. I can always have a properly chilled glass of red from my own cellar when we get home.
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Re: WTN/30 Second Wine Advisor: White wine when it's hot? Not!

by Robin Garr » Fri Aug 13, 2010 8:00 pm

Gord Haugh wrote:My wife and I were discussing this topic this morning. We are attending an outdoor wedding at a farm tomorrow and the humidex is predicted to be about 40 degrees Celcius (104F). ...

Very enjoyable post, Gord. Thanks, and by the way, welcome to our group! I see you've been a member of the forum for a while, but your first post was worth the wait.
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Cathy Keibler

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Re: WTN/30 Second Wine Advisor: White wine when it's hot? Not!

by Cathy Keibler » Fri Aug 13, 2010 8:12 pm

Drinking a red right now! A Zin just slightly chilled. Altho' I do drink more whites and roses in the summer heat, I occassionally just have to have a big, sturdy red and I have never thought the heat diminished my enjoyment of a good red wine served at cellar temps.
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Re: WTN/30 Second Wine Advisor: White wine when it's hot? Not!

by Robin Garr » Fri Aug 13, 2010 8:17 pm

Cathy Keibler wrote:Drinking a red right now! A Zin just slightly chilled. Altho' I do drink more whites and roses in the summer heat, I occassionally just have to have a big, sturdy red and I have never thought the heat diminished my enjoyment of a good red wine served at cellar temps.

Cathy, a warm welcome to you, too! I wonder what it was about today's article that's bringing out all you nice folks who joined the forum last year and are getting around to posting now. :-)
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Re: WTN/30 Second Wine Advisor: White wine when it's hot? Not!

by Cathy Keibler » Fri Aug 13, 2010 8:24 pm

Robin Garr wrote:"Cathy, a warm welcome to you, too! I wonder what it was about today's article that's bringing out all you nice folks who joined the forum last year and are getting around to posting now"


Summer cabin fever? Love the forum, have been lurking way too long!
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Re: WTN/30 Second Wine Advisor: White wine when it's hot? Not!

by Robin Garr » Fri Aug 13, 2010 9:11 pm

Cathy Keibler wrote:Summer cabin fever? Love the forum, have been lurking way too long!

Well, we're (speaking in the editorial "We" or maybe the royal?) glad you broke the ice and hope you'll hang around!
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Re: WTN/30 Second Wine Advisor: White wine when it's hot? Not!

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Fri Aug 13, 2010 10:08 pm

Cathy Keibler wrote:Drinking a red right now! A Zin just slightly chilled. Altho' I do drink more whites and roses in the summer heat, I occassionally just have to have a big, sturdy red and I have never thought the heat diminished my enjoyment of a good red wine served at cellar temps.


Hoots of laughter, at times, when I suggest chilling some reds! Zin, good one but think Rhone too Cathy.
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