The approach of summer means the return of one of American’s beloved traditions: the backyard cookout. School’s out, fun is in the air, and it’s time to relax. Picnic tables are prime real estate, and the volleyball court is abuzz with activity. You can almost hear the crack of the baseball bat, the splash of the pool, and the whisper of the lawn sprinkler. A cookout means friends and family, laughter and enjoyment. And whether you’re chowing down on a cheeseburger or dipping your feet in the water, nothing brings out the best in a summer afternoon like the perfect glass of your favorite wine.
The Perfect Wine for Your Backyard BBQ
The perfect wine for a BBQ must:
The barbecue is the oldest method of cooking, and among the most versatile. You can grill anything from potatoes and mac ’n cheese to blueberry crumble and s’mores. But for most of us, summer patio fare will mean franks, burgers and steaks. And what afternoon repast would be complete without the perfect wine pairing?
Picking the right wine for a summer cookout means two things: it has to go with the food, but it also has to go with the weather. On a hot day, people tend to prefer lighter, fruitier, more refreshing wines. But bolder foods like seasoned steaks call for bolder vintages. Sometimes a medium-bodied wine can be the ideal compromise.
In general, Epicurious recommends Col Vetoraz Prosecco di Valdobbiadene Brut, Dry Creek Vineyard Dry Chenin Blanc 2008, Tapeña RoséTierra de Castilla 2008, La Crema Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2008, and Seghesio Zinfandel Sonoma County 2008. You may be detecting a theme here: 2008 was a very good year for lively summer wines.
|Steaks, ribs, burgers||Big-Bodied Red Wines, like Bordeaux, Cabernet, or Shiraz|
|Chicken||Chardonnay or a light Pinot Gris|
|Roasted Veggies||Pinot Noir|
|Grilled Pork||Pinot Noir|
The Perfect Wine Temperature
Keep your wine chilled for both freshness and refreshment. Wine must be stored and served at a cool temperature. “Heat is enemy number one for wine,”warns Wine Spectator. When your wine gets hot, it will lose its nose and flavor and begin to smell like alcohol. But grabbing a bottle out of the refrigerator isn’t the best bet either; the deep cold there will numb the wine and make it hard to taste. An ideal temperature is between fifty and sixty-five degrees Fahrenheit, a coolness which will maximize aroma, savor and hot-weather comfort. Temperatures like that aren’t always easy to maintain when the thermometer outside is north of ninety.
The best place to cool your wine is not in your normal refrigerator but in a special wine cooler like the NewAir AWC-270E Bottle Compressor Wine Cooler. You can take advantage of its digital control and readout to set a precise temperature based on the kind of wine you’re going to serve. Here’s a rough guide
|More acidic wines||As low as 48 degrees|
|Sparkling wines||50-55 degrees|
|Red Wines||Closer to room temperature, as high as 68 degrees|
|All Wines||Never above 70 degrees!|
Storing the Leftovers
What if your party wraps up and you have some half-full bottles? The Wine Doctor says, “With a little care the vast majority of wines can be stored safely to be finished the next day.”You’ll want to re-cork your wine, of course, but having exposed it to oxygen you’ll want to minimize the quantity of that gas in the bottle. A vacuum pump, or better still an injection of nitrogen into the bottle, can keep oxygen off of the wine, which will preserve its freshness. This is particularly important in Champagnes and sparkling wines, which are no good without their bubbles. Nobody wants yesterday’s wine if it tastes flat and unexciting.
When you’re cooling those tart wines, it helps to have a wine refrigerator that can reach the lower temperature range. The NewAir AWC-270E Bottle Compressor Wine Cooler has a compressor-based cooling system capable of lower temperatures than some wine coolers with thermoelectric systems. It also has insulated glass doors to preserve a constant temperature. You’ll come to rely on that when the sun is beating down. A sturdy lock on those doors will also deter your guests from sneaking off with your favorite bottles. Speaking of which, the NewAir AWC-270E also has room for up to 27 standard wine bottles. This means you’ll have room for a wide range of wine types; when guests bring unexpected grill foods, you’ll have a variety of wines to pair them with. Is your mouth watering yet?
A good bottle of wine is beautiful as well as aromatic. One of the simplest pleasures of wine is the care with which the bottles are shaped, tinted and labeled. The NewAir AWC-270E has interior LED lighting that will not only assist you in locating the perfect vintage, but will showcase the bottles to you and your guests.
Whether you’re hosting a black-tie cookout on the deck or a wearing a “Kiss the chef”apron at a party on the lawn, food, wine and friends are the very best of summer. Keep your grill clean and lubricated, your burgers and steaks seasoned, your paper plates stacked high, and your wine crisp and chilled in a wine cooler. And last but not least–Enjoy!