With the hot summer months upon us, we hear a lot about health: protecting your skin from the sun and your body from dehydration. We know it’s bad for food to be left in the heat, but did you know it’s also bad for wine? Aficionados use the term “cooked” when referring to wine that has been adversely affected by the heat.
One of the most common signs that your vino has fallen victim is the loss of freshness and vibrant flavor. The good news is, you may not even realize this subtle change, especially if you are serving the wine with food.
More obvious, and not so easy to overlook, is the smell— a bit too sweet, almost processed. Also sniff for metallic or swampy odors. Visibly, if the cork is bulging out of the bottle or leaking, leave it alone. While consuming cooked wines won’t hurt your health, it
will leave a bad taste in your mouth. Don’t store wine in your boat or poolside unless refrigerated and don’t leave it in your car for an extended period of time unless in a cooler.
In your search for summer wines that beat the heat and pair well with grilled foods, try some of these from around the world.
Château La Coste Coteaux d’Aix- en- Provence Rose Rose wine is fantastic to drink in the summer, and this one from France is made mostly from syrah. You’ll smell the minerals and taste them too. A dry pink wine that you could drink all day, this one has flavors of strawberries, with a touch of anise on the finish. ($ 20)
Domaine Louis Michel Chablis AOC If you are serving oysters, you need this wine. It is tropical, citrusy, clean and oh- so- refreshing, with a hint of salinity. In fact, it has become quite fashionable to drink Chablis these days. This one is 100- percent French chardonnay and a fantastic value. ($ 25)
Hamilton Russell Vineyards, Hemel- en- Aarde Valley Chardonnay From South Africa, this delightful wine is crisp and acidic with lots of pineapple and a hint of nuts, no oak. It’s a perfect wine to serve with salty pork. ($ 33)
Sierra Batuco Lone Rider This blend of cabernet, syrah and merlot is from Chile. It’s a bit spicy, earthy and masculine, but still has a good amount of dark red fruits; it’s perfect for your grilled pork or beef. ($ 25)
Jacopo Biondi Santi Braccale Rosso Coming from a famous family of Italian winemakers, this sangiovese is blended with a little bit of merlot for some added fruit flavors, such as plum and blackberry. The finish is a bit astringent. Serve it with barbecued chicken or grilled sweet Italian sausage. ($ 19)
Beso Del Sol Sangria This wine in a box is a Spanish tempranillo that’s mixed with citrus and other fruits to produce a sweet, refreshing blend. It’s ideal for drinking around the pool or on a boat since there is no glass to fuss with, just 100- percent recycled cardboard. Pour it over ice, add some fresh fruit and viola! The 3- liter box is a bargain; equivalent to four bottles. ($ 19.99)
Find these wines at local retailers: Whole Foods, Wine Merchant, Island Store, Total Wine and World Market. You can also enjoy them at area restaurants, including the Mad Hatter, Blue Coyote Sanibel and The Other Side Bistro.