Too Darn Hot

June 23, 2005

As I write this, Winnipeg is a festering 45 degrees Celcius with the humidity factored in. Walking outside is like being hit in the face by a hot, wet towel. My window air conditioner is struggling to keep up, and my morning post-shower shave in our un-air conditioned bathroom is almost too horrible to contemplate. The heat isn’t supposed to break until tomorrow, and it will be back again next week.

So what works in weather like this? Think crisp and cool. Now is not the time for that big oaky Chardonnay. The bottle of Lindeman’s Bin 65 Chardonnay that I bought yesterday was a mistake. Go for the lighter wines, like Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Blanc. Pinot Grigio is a hit, as are the medium-weight, unoaked Pinot Gris. The MLCC stocks the Calona Vineyard ‘Artists Series’ Pinot Gris from BC, which was featured in last week’s Globe and Mail. It sells for $13 or so, and is worth tracking down. If you can’t find that, try some regional Italian or Spanish wines. Even a boring old Masi Soave can be a hit in this weather.

For reds, go for anything Gamay-based (Beaujolais being the prime example), lighter Merlots and Pinot Noirs. Pink wines (a.k.a rose) are a safe bet right about now. And don’t be afraid to drop them in the fridge for a spell to bring their temperature down. Most winemakers recommend serving their wines at around 17-20 degrees Celcius. Right now, my kitchen is in the mid-30’s – not the right atmosphere to enjoy a glass of red. So chill the reds for about 10-15 minutes, and you’ll enjoy them a lot more.

And if all else fails, a nice cold beer is always a winner. I’ve got a few bottles of Stella Artois in my fridge right now. And no, I’m not sharing them. But bring over a nice South African Sauvignon Blanc and I’ll let you sit in my air-conditioned living room.

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