Chill (wines) This Summer

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We like to think of ourselves as innately cool and hip. (Whether the description bears any resemblance to reality is a subject for another time.) When wine spritzers were all the rage, we were among the hordes of who thought nothing of watering down our wine with a splash of club soda. The best thing about spritzers was that you could drink a lot of them.

But times – and fashion – change. Try doing an Internet search for “wine cooler.” No mention of Bartles and James, but you’ll learn everything you need to know about wine refrigerators. Which brings us to a bit of advice on cool wines: how to chill them.

So what’s the big deal about chilling wine? Just stick it in the fridge. That’s exactly what we do when we have the foresight to plan ahead. Chilling a bottle of wine that way takes at least two hours, and sometimes a girl just … forgets.

Our quick-chill method requires a bucket (or something that can pass for a bucket, which includes the kitchen sink), some water and some ice. Immerse your wine bottle in half water and half ice and leave for about 20 minutes. That’s it. Ice alone or the freezer method won’t do the job as fast.

Which wines to chill?

The colder a wine gets, the less pronounced the aromas and flavors will be. So if you have a really cheap, undistinguished wine, go ahead and chill the heck out of it. And make sure you and your guests drink it up before it warms up.

Having said that, there are wines that benefit from chilling – most whites and light reds such as Beaujolais. Even more full-bodied reds need some chilling if they’ve been stored at truly “room temperature” — like the 72 degrees in your hall closet. At that temperature, the wine’s alcohol will be unpleasantly pronounced. Reds that have been kept at an ideal 55-degree cellar temperature won’t need further cooling.

Here’s to keeping cool yourself with a fun summer wine!


Barbara and Beverly