In Food + Drink

The Nine New Rules Of Summer Wine

Brought to you by Dan Murphy's

This Christmas, discover an amazing range of festive drink ideas at unbeatable prices with Dan Murphy's.

The first rule of wine is that you shouldn’t let anyone tell you how to enjoy your wine. Into New Zealand sauvignon blanc? Own it. Love to lightly chill a glass of pinot noir to have with dinner in summer? Why not. And ice cubes? Well, we’ll leave that one up to you.

Many of the old school wine rules are born out of Europe, where temperature and traditions are tailored towards a different market. Australia’s climate tends to propel us towards pinot gris in the summer and shiraz in the winter, but there’s a whole world in between.

It’s time to re-think your approach to wine and diversify your taste palette. And so to help you do so, we’ve put together a list of our top wine tips and tricks.

Re-think rosé

Bone-dry French rosé has played a big part in educating Australian drinkers away from the saccharine wines of rosé -past. Fresh and light, the rosé may be seen as a summer quaffer, but the category extends well past affordable food-friendly wines. A well-crafted rosé will get better with age and can even retail for more than $300 a bottle.

Time to re-think the old ‘white or red wine’ question? We think so.

Lightly chill some reds

The idea that red wine should only be served at room temperature or warmer clearly did not originate in a country that regularly sees the mercury hit 40 degrees.

Rules are made to be broken, and this one is no exception – in fact, many wine connoisseurs now say red wine in fact tastes better when chilled. The rule especially applies to lighter styles such as pinot noir, grenache or gamay.

Simply pop the bottle in the fridge an hour before drinking, or in the freezer 15 minutes before.

Look beyond Champagne

Champagne will always denote a level of quality and luxury that celebrations demand, but there are some lovely other options to explore, too.

Consider Spanish Cava, Italian Prosecco, or Australian sparkling wine to fill your flute instead. House of Arras, in Northern Tasmania, produces incredibly quality wine worthy of your Christmas celebration.

To replicate the toastiness of a great Champagne, look for Crémant – a style of sparkling wine often from France that still uses the in-bottle secondary fermentation method.

If you do only want Champagne, look beyond the well-known brands – Champagne can be made by small growers too and with a unique complexity of flavours.

Be mindful of where you’re storing it

Once opened, be mindful of where you store the bottle. If you’re popping a bottle of white wine in the fridge to drink at a later date, be careful you aren’t over-chilling it. This can ruin the drink’s aromatics and dull its flavour. For reds, if they’re stored in too warm of a spot, they can become flabby and flat.

Try a wine cocktail

Feeling like mixing up your vino game?  Every wine has the ability to be transformed into an easy cocktail. Soda water and a citrus garnish is all white wine needs to become a classic white wine spritz, while white or red sangria is the perfect vessel for average wine and left-over fruit salad.

Then of course, there are the classics: bellinis, sangria or a New York sour.

Don’t gloss over glassware

Think Champagne is best served in a flute? More and more people think not, including prestige Champagne brand Krug’s chef de cave Eric Lebel.

He likens drinking his Krug out of a flute to going to a concert with ear plugs in, as the narrow shape doesn’t let the drinker properly experience the aromas.

Instead, a simple white wine glass is a better vessel to properly experience the wine as intended.

While on glassware, consider investing in crystal wine glasses. Their rims can be made thinner than regular glass rims, so their edges won’t disrupt the flow of the drink onto your tongue.

Observe your pour

Wine-pouring is an art, and the best way to learn it is through practice. For the most part, the best way to pour and avoid spillage is to hold the bottle close to its base and rotate it away from you as you finish the pour.

Don’t be tempted to over-pour. Ideally, glasses should be filled between a third and halfway full to allow your wine room to breathe.

Do as you’d like… as long as you’re enjoying it

At the end of the day (or start of it, if you’re enjoying a beverage at brunch), remember that wine rules were put in place to maximise the experience of drinking wine and the taste of it. If you find you enjoy wine other ways than what’s been suggested, there’s no harm in doing things your way. As long as you’re drinking responsibly, when it comes to wine, it’s best to do as you please.

Published 14 December, 2018