Don't even think about it.
I’ll never understand why people put ice cubes in wine. I understand that you want to keep your beverage cold. But you shouldn’t dilute the flavours in your glass to do so.
When the weather is this warm I tend to stick to Riesling. It’s lower in alcohol compared to most wines and it tastes great when you serve it very cold. When you are drinking white wines that haven’t been aged in oak barrels they tend to be more forgiving when being served at fridge temperature. I’m talking about Pinot Grigio, Riesling, and Sauvignon Blanc, to name a few. When you start serving white wines that have been aged in oak barrels, like a big Californian chardonnay, they will taste like sucking on a popsicle stick when you serve it too cold.
Now here is something we don’t often think about in the summer. If you pull a bottle of red wine off the shelf, even from an air conditioned house, you are likely starting with a bottle at 21 degrees. If you are grilling a steak or burgers your bottle is just going to heat up from there. Trust me, there is nothing pleasant about warm red wine (unless it’s cold out and the wine is mulled). If you’re firing up the barbeque make sure you toss your bottle of red wine in the fridge for 20-30 minutes before serving. And don’t ever put an ice cube in your red wine, no matter what, or I will find you.
Here are a few wines to get through the hot weather and your ideal serving temperature.
2013 Fielding Red Conception – Vintages 189183 – Price $18.95 – ****+ –
Once again Fielding brings us a wine that has the ability to sit in a cellar for a few years and improve. This is a perfect wine for anyone looking for a premium bottle but doesn’t have the patience to wait to build a collection. This is a blend of cabernet franc, syrah, cabernet sauvignon and merlot. The aromas on this wine feature very ripe raspberry and ripe red cherry. There are hints of smoke and pepper, but the ripe fruit are really what drive this wine. The flavours very much match the nose. This is a fruit driven wine. This may age for three to five years in a cellar to reward you with more smoke aromas and flavours but I would enjoy this wine young with burgers, pizza or a nice steak. Put this wine in the fridge for 30 minutes before serving if you plan on leaving the bottle on the patio in this heat.
2015 Megalomaniac Narcissist Riesling – Vintages 67587 – Price $17.95 – **** –
Let’s call this wine apples with a side of more apples. This is a textbook example of Niagara riesling. The aromas on this wine are great orchard fruit with Granny Smith apple and bright lemon notes. When you taste the wine the citrus definitely takes centre stage with with lemon and lime. Buried under the citrus flavours there are a big bunch of apples. The acidity on this wine is quite high making it food friendly. For the summer I plan on enjoying this wine with fried chicken or fish. This wine is the perfect patio sipper and can be served at fridge temperature, but don’t put the bottle back in the fridge. If you leave the bottle on the table, as it warms up you will notice the citrus flavours take a back seat and the apple flavours become more prononunced.
2012 Flat Rock Red Twisted – Vintages 86918 – Price $24.95 – ****+ –
This wine drinks dangerously smooth. We are now four summers away from the very warm 2012 edition, so we should enjoy what few releases we have left from this vintage. The flavours are raspberry, cherry and strawberry with velvet soft tannin. This is a bottle you could put in the cellar for three to five years, but why would you want to let all this fruit to go to waste? Honestly, this is one of those wines that is dangerous if you’re building a collection. It is priced well enough that you don’t have to feel guilty opening right away even though a bottle or two would be at home in a new wine cellar. Enjoy this wine with pizza, pasta with tomato sauce, or any red meat off the grill. This bottle needs to be in the fridge for 30 minutes if you’re going to open it on the patio in this heat.
2013 Inniskillin Montague Vineyard Chardonnay – Vintages 586347 – Price $24.95 – ****1/2 –
Simply put, this is an incredible Chardonnay. The aromas of pineapple, peaches, pears and vanilla feel like they are climbing out of the glass. But when you sip this wine everything is restrained and subtle. This is everything that is right about Ontario wine. The acidity is palate-cleansing, but leaves your mouth waiting for the next sip. The finish on this wine leaves you with lingering flavours of vanilla. The key to enjoying this wine is to make sure that you don’t serve it too cold. If you serve this wine at fridge temperature it will taste like wood. However, given the incredible heat we have been facing I enjoy serving a bottle of Chardonnay “too cold” just to see how it evolves as it warms up. The incredible thing about Chardonnay is that a great bottle (like this one) will still taste great as it gets close to room temperature.