With the summer season in full swing, entertaining heads outdoors, with leisurely BBQs and picnics forming the backdrop for gatherings of family and friends. Choosing a great wine to pair with the menu is a thoughtful touch, but white wines aren’t the only options during the warmer months. Even as temperatures rise, versatile red wine deserves a place on the table, and these quick tips can enhance your understanding and enjoyment of wines all summer long.
Here are a few tips about red wine:
Take a chill. Red wine should not be served warm.
One of the first things many people hear about wine is that white wines should be chilled, and red wines should be left at room temperature. However, the wine experts at CK Mondavi and Family explain that people typically over-chill white wines, while people usually serve red wines far too warm. Why does temperature matter? Serving wine at the right temperature allows all of the aromas and flavors to be enjoyed at their best.
Take white wines out of the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes, to bring the temperature to 49-55 degrees before serving. Red wines are at their best slightly cooler than room temperature, around 60-65 degrees. Place a bottle in the refrigerator or use a wine cooler to chill before serving, but not for too long. The bottle should not be cold, but cool to the touch. For BBQs and outdoor gatherings, nestle a bottle in an icy cooler for a few minutes before opening.
Once poured into a glass, any wine will warm up, so it's always better to start serving at a cooler temperature to begin with.
Breathe. Red wines benefit from a little air.
Red wines typically benefit from some extended time to breathe or be exposed to air. This helps optimize its aromas and flavors. Swirling the wine a little in the glass is also a way to help release its aromas. Letting an open bottle sit for a few minutes will suffice for most wines. Pouring into a decanter not only looks fancy, but serves to further aerate wines, and will prevent pouring any sediment into a glass.
Sweeten up. Not all red wine is dry.
For a crowd-pleasing choice, choose a fruity wine. This season, CK Mondavi and Family is introducing a limited-time-offering of new Sunset Sweet Red Blend, a luscious, smooth wine that complements a wide variety of fare.
“We’re having fun with this new wine,” says Randy Herron, head winemaker. “It’s juicy and full-bodied, with flavors of strawberry and dark plum.”
Go bold. Red wines pair well with strong flavors.
When pairing wine with food, choose flavors that complement each other — think lighter wines with more delicate flavors, and bolder wines with stronger, spicier foods. For this reason, many red wines pair well with sharp or smoked cheeses, red meat — including cured, salty or smoked meats — and grilled vegetables.
That’s why red wine can be a great choice for your summer barbecue. Pairing a sweet wine like Sunset Sweet Red Blend with a tangy and spicy barbecue sauce can be a match made in heaven.
Even newcomers to wine will appreciate the mouthwatering flavors and exciting pairings you offer your guests at your barbecue or soiree. Plan your summer parties with a good red wine in mind, and you can’t go wrong.