Though some wine drinkers prefer to stick with what they know and drink the same types of wine throughout the year, most wine experts recommend imbibers match their wine selections to the seasons. Gus Olah, owner of Hokus Pokus Liquors, says wine choices are all about climate and food. “As the weather gets warmer, we see a lot more whites and rosés. Lighter wines are easier to pair with spring and summer foods.”
Here are a few tips to broaden your palate and pick the best whites, rosés, sparkling wines and reds for the spring and summer seasons.
The acidity in white wine enhances its refreshing, crisp qualities, making white a go-to in warmer weather. But different whites offer different qualities. When the weather is warmer, opt for dry whites with high acidity and light to medium bodies as they tend to be crisp and refreshing. Olah recommends off-varietal white wines, such as Albariños and Torrontés from Argentina – perfect for summertime seafood dishes. His personal summer favorites are sauvignon blancs and french white bordeauxs.
With characteristics of both red and white wines, rosé is an incredibly versatile wine. It pairs well with seasonal foods like spring vegetables, lighter meat proteins or fish, and celebrates the season with notes of red berries, flowers, and citrus. Olah says all rosés, especially french rosés from Provence, are popular this season.
There’s no need to reserve sparkling wines for celebrations! They offer many of the same attributes that make sauvignon blanc or rosé ideal for warm weather – fresh acidity and clean flavors – while the soft effervescence makes it refreshing and palate-cleansing. Crisp, light sparkling wines pair well with lighter ingredients we tend to crave in the spring, like fresh fruit and greens.
Good sparkling wines tend to be more expensive than other varieties, but there are affordable options. For everyday use, look beyond champagne, a type of sparkling wine that requires it to be made in the champagne region of France. Spanish Cavas and Italian Franciacortas and Proseccos offer delicious, affordable alternatives.
Olah encourages wine aficionados not to shy away from reds in warmer weather. “Lighter varietal reds also pair well this time of year. A popular grape coming on to the red scene and doing very well right now is Gamay. It’s a lighter, refreshing beaujolais-style wine from France.” On warm days, lighter reds can be enhanced when served slightly chilled to help bring out the more subtle floral notes. Olah says, “Venture out and try some of the lighter reds out there.”
So, rather than sticking to your same old favorites, change the wine you drink with the seasons and experience a wider range of varietals and pairings.
Temperature is a crucial aspect in serving wines, yet we often serve whites and rosés too cold and reds too warm. Whites and rosés that have been removed from the fridge approximately 15 minutes before serving have enhanced flavor while still achieving a crisp mouthfeel. For red wine, 30 minutes in the fridge before serving can enhance the floral flavors. But don’t go overboard: an over-chilled wine of any color will lose its more delicate tasting notes. Ideal temperatures for wines are 45° for whites and rosés and 55° for reds. Also, when pairing wines with food, visualize the weight of the dish. For example, complement a delicate dish like a seasoned white fish with a light, subtle wine. Conversely, more complex, heavy dishes like lamb are perfect with bold wines like a Bordeaux. However, the most important question is always, What do you love to drink?
After almost five months of rebuild and recovery after the storms, Hokus Pokus Liquors, located at 1915 Country Club Rd, Lake Charles, reopened in January 2021. 337-474-0447.