Refreshing white wines match with sunny patios and hot days, while bold, tannic red wines earn their keep by a replace on a winter night. Common sense.
But what about the shoulder season? What if you’re eating sea bass on a rainy spring day? Or sipping wine on a patio during an uncommonly warm April afternoon?
Wine not only pairs with food, but with temperatures and seasons. A bright sauvignon blanc can taste flat and acidic on a cold night, at no fault of the wine or the drinker. Some white wines are other-worldly at the vineyard tasting room in the summer, but fall flat when you pull them out for dinner guests in the winter.
The change in taste is likely due to a number of factors. Anatomically, it is your sinus cavities creating the change. Higher atmospheric pressures allow your nose to pick out subtle aromas, while lower pressures bring out a wine’s acidity and harsh tannins. CO2 degasses from liquid at low pressure, leaving wines dull and flat, too.
Serving temperature can greatly affect a wine’s aromatics; white wines chilled to near-freezing have dull aromas (Tip: Allow the bottle a half hour on the counter before popping the cork. This will allow the aromatics to warm up, enhancing the flavour).
Lastly, your own palate will be partial to different flavours depending on sun, snow, wind, and sleet, but as a rule of thumb, higher alcohol white wines (approximately 13 per cent or more) will warm the soul, and pair best with cooler weather.
Check out some wine selections to go for when it’s not too hot and not too cold!