With another cold wet winter behind us and a hot summer at our doorsteps, our thoughts turn to picnics, patios, barbecues and those delectable summer wines. You know the ones I’m talking about, those crisp, classic whites that we all love like Chardonnay and White Zinfandel. But wait, there has to be more than just the same wines we’ve enjoyed year round! If you haven’t tasted some of the other great alternative wines the world has to offer, you’ll be missing out on some great new experiences. And what a joy it is to introduce your friends to a new wine discovery. Better yet, a varietal they may have heard of, but have never tasted.
Of course, with the sunshine and warm temperatures upon us, it’s important that your wine is stored properly to ensure that you and your friends experience all the wonderful notes summer wines have to offer. U-Line’s Wine Captain® Models manage and maintain stable temperatures, provide protection from light and harmful UV rays, virtually eliminate vibration and maintain a suitable level of humidity; all important elements in maximizing the preservation of your wine.
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The triple zone design of U-Line’s 1000 Series Wine Captain® Model allows for optimal preservation of your white and red wines in a single unit. The temperature range is from 40°F to 60°F which is perfect for putting the proper chill on your summer whites and young reds.
The 2000 Series Wine Captain® Models offer a touch digital control with an easy view command center. With temperature ranges from 34°F to 60°F, it’s easy to make sure your summer wines are being properly preserved for that right moment.
The Modular 3000 Series Wine Captain® Models can maintain precise temperatures within +/- 1°F of set point for optimal preservation. The U-Select Control® makes it easy to establish cellar-like conditions. There are three distinct modes designed to provide maximum preservation: Sparkling, White, and Red.
Optimal preservation for the white wines we’ll be discussing below is between 45°F and 55°F. With any Wine Captain® Model, you’ll be confident that your Chardonnays to Rieslings are being kept crisp, bright and ready for a summer afternoon with friends.
Let’s take a look at some wines that may make you the hero of the backyard scene.
No summer list would be complete without first mentioning the classic summer wines! These wines are a staple of any backyard gathering, but there are so many other exciting alternatives that I can’t wait to share with you.
From the dry Sancerre to the vibrant Riesling, white wines are great for Summer.
Pinot Grigio or Pinot Gris — Grown best in Italy and Oregon, this wine tends to be medium bodied, with underlying flavors of apple, pear and peach. The wine also tends to have a spicy note.Rose’ – Dry, crisp and full of flavor. I would suggest a Bandol from Provence or Tavel, both from southern France. Unlike White Zinfandel, where red and white wine is simply mixed together, French Rose’ achieves its color by using the natural process of leaving the skin in contact with the wine during the fermentation.
You may think that red wines shouldn’t be included in this list, but rather than choosing a bold, tannic, high alcohol wine, opt for a young, light bodied, higher acidity red that begs to be chilled. Deeper colored, more complex red wines, like the Cabernet, are generally kept at optimal preservation temperatures between 55°F and 65°F. But light bodied, young reds, like the ones listed below, are perfect choices for summer when chilled in your Wine Captain® Model.
Chinon – A light red from the Loire Valley, France. This wine is generally made in a light style using the Cabernet Franc grape, but can achieve bold levels of complexity depending on the wine maker. Also best served chilled, a Chinon can also have a spicy, mineral taste.
Note, fortified wines have an alcohol content of around 20% and can sneak up on you if you’re not careful.
Tawny Port – A secret the Portuguese have known for centuries, chilled Tawny Ports and summer is a hard-to-beat combination. Tawny Ports are smooth fortified wines, aged in wood barrels anywhere from six years to more than fifty years. A neutral grape spirit is added during the wine making process arresting the fermentation. This gives us a sweet, desert quality wine with a wonderful medley of flavors that include nuts, caramel, toffee and golden raisins.
Madeira – Another Portuguese original made popular in the US during the 17th and 18th century. Again, fortified like Port but undergoes a unique process of heating and oxidation. This process creates a wine unlike any other. Offered in various degrees of sweetness, I would recommend starting with a chilled “rainwater” Verdelho which provides a mouthwatering, medium sweet rush of acidity and caramel smoothness.