SB Sipper: Summertime Hydration
Let’s be real. It is hot. Around this time of year, there are a lot of people that switch their drink preferences. Wine drinkers are a big part of this changeover. In bar caterings, we see more consumption of white wines during the warmer months where you would normally see an even depletion of reds and whites. You’ll even start to see committed red wine drinkers searching for a white wine or rosé to sip on. There are some red wines out there that are down right magical for summertime. Here’s what we look for in this particular style.
Now keep in mind, the majority of the points I’m about to make are contingent on being outside, patio pounding, camping or cookouts. If you are committed to being inside with air conditioning the whole time, this may not affect you. During the 98-degree heat, you don’t want a rich, fruit bomb that weighs you down. You want something with great fruit presence, firm acidity and you want it to be light-bodied. These lighter expressions of red wine can be more thirst quenching and less of a drag than a dense Cabernet or Petite Sirah. Lighter bodied wines really shine in these situations. Pinot Noir can be a great way to defy the heat and drink red. There are also a few French wines that work as well.
Let’s talk Pinot Noir for a second. Pinot is absolutely one of the better grapes for this time of year. It’s lighter and fruitier than a lot of the other grapes coming out of North America. There are plenty of great producers that really shine here from California, but take the opportunity to try an Oregon Pinot Noir. Wines from Oregon tend to echo Burgundy. Subtle flavors of cherry, sometimes cherry cola, light tobacco, light in body and high acidity. Two producers that do a great job without breaking the bank are Cloudline Pinot Noir and Cherry Cove Pinot Noir. Both are under $25, and that can be hard to find in quality Oregon Pinot producers.
Another stellar option is Jean-Marie Rimbert’s Cousin Oscar Red Wine. It is produced in the Languedoc-Roussillon region of southern France. The grape varietal that makes up the wine is 100 percent Cinsault (San-soh). What makes this grape awesome for this style of lighter red is that it has a thin skin so it won’t have crazy high tannins (what helps make wine dry). So what does the juice taste like? Beautiful fresh red and blue fruits, perfumey with a little minerality, medium acidity and a light body. This one actually does great when you chill it down for a few minutes before you start drinking it. The best part about it is that it is only 12 percent alcohol so you can have an extra glass.
Summertime can make it hard to drink those big, bold, juicy reds. Most of the time it has to do with the huge tannins on the finish that can dry your mouth out. Try any of these reds with a little chill on them. Fifteen minutes in the refrigerator or cooler before you pour a glass could change the game for you.
Judd Smith is a local wine enthusiast who also works as Cadre Hospitality Group’s beverage director. To read more from Smith, check out his blog at BeardandBarrelBlog.com.