Are you drinking red wines wrong in the summer? It’s possible.
When pulling random reds off the living room wine rack and rushing them to the deck, they may not be tasting their best.
The truism about red wines at “room temperature” isn’t correct. Best forget it. That advice emerged when room temperature was a drafty northern French chateau. So rather than 74 degrees, reds are better at 64 degrees. When you are running a bottle from your 72-degree living room to your 92-degree deck, your cabernet or pinot noir doesn’t have a chance.
Temperature enhances the perception acids and depresses the perception of fruit, so those wines will be finishing like battery acid in no time.
I’d take it one step further, putting reds in the fridge or on ice to give them a chill before pouring them into a summer glass. If the wine is too cold, wait three minutes and it will be the right temperature. It’s easier than pouring a wine warm and trying to get it cold again
Tried upon opening, Rutherford Ranch 2017 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon open was a bit harsh and bitter on the finish. But after time in the glass or with the bottle open, this wine comes off as a standard Napa cabernet, jammy with notes of mint in the nose and black berry with fine tannins. Of course, this would be great with steak or other substantial red meat. $25. ♦♦♦♦
For a great medium-bodied, moderate-alcohol red, a perennial favorite of mine is Tenuta Frescobaldi Castiglioni Toscana, a Bordeaux-inspired blend (Baby Tuscan) made with cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, merlot and sangiovese. The wine the right level of fruitfulness with cherry and plum character with a hint of rustic twang. This wine comes in and out of the Pennsylvania state system and right now it is out. But it is worth finding for another source. As a lighter red, try this with grilled chicken or burgers. $20. ♦♦♦♦ 1/2
In the summer, you are not breaking any rules by chilling your reds.
GRADE: Exceptional ♦♦♦♦♦, Above average ♦♦♦♦, Good ♦♦♦, Below average ♦♦, Poor ♦
David Falchek executive director of the American Wine Society, reviews wines each week. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org