1. PUT ICE IN YOUR WINE
Yes, adding ice to wine dilutes it and reduces the flavours – but sometimes it’s just too darned hot! If adding an ice cube or two keeps you cool and stops you drinking too much in the sun, go for it and ignore all the purists clicking their tongues.
2. LET EVERYONE THINK YOU’VE LOST YOUR MARBLES
This is a clever trick I learnt from wine guru Maryna Strachan – if you want to chill your wine without diluting it put marbles in the freezer and use those instead. What’s more, they look really eye-catching in the glass, too.
3. BUY A CHENIN FOR EVERY OCCASION
Let this summer be the one where you really get into Chenin Blanc. It’s a fabulous grape, offering better value than any other at every single price point, from R30 to R300. Unwooded, wooded, bubbly, off-dry, dessert wines – there’s a Chenin for every drinker and every occasion.
4. STRETCH YOUR SAUVIES
Sauvignon Blanc is most people’s favourite summer wine, but they can often cost a bit more than other varieties. Try my favourite summer combination of Sauvignon and Chenin – the latter not only costs less than Sauvignon, but also blends well with it, adding richness, freshness and tropical fruit to the mix.
5. NO MORE FLUTES
Bet that surprises you! Yes, the flute as a bubbly glass has had its day. Not only are people fed up with getting their noses stuck in narrow glasses, but they’re also missing out on the lovely yeasty aromas of top fizzes. So next time, try serving bubbles in a tulip-shaped wine glass instead and see how much better they taste.
6. MAKE A WINE COCKTAIL
Wine is the new cool cocktail ingredient adding colour, flavour and freshness to any colour wine. Try recipes such as the Stargazer made from Chardonnay, dark rum and pineapple juice, or the Just Keep Swimming featuring Sauvignon Blanc, vodka and watermelon juice. Also try the frosé, find that here.
7. COOL DOWN WITH COOLERS
Sipping wine by the pool is a great way to spend an afternoon but you don’t want to drink more than you can handle, which is why adding tonic, lemonade or soda to wine can actually be a great idea. Garnish with ice blocks, mint, cherries, strawberry halves or frosted grapes and enjoy your favourite tipple without worrying (too much) about the alcohol units.
8. HEAD OFF THE BEATEN TRACK
There are a host of new names out there that are worth a try. Give SA’s version of Austria’s most famous grape – the Grüner Veltliner from Diemersdal on the Durbanville Wine Route – a go. Or what about Italian favourite Pinot Grigio (Terra del Capo makes a great version)? You could also stick to the Rhône and look for Grenache Blanc from The Foundry. All unusual but delicious options for summer drinking.
9. MATCH ROSS WITH FOOD
I have no idea where rosé got the reputation as being a “lesser” wine, but it needs to stop! Rosé is THE hot tip for summer food-matching – all over the Mediterranean, everyone’s favourite summer foods are paired with a glass of delicious pink wine. Think fresh salads, herbs, garlic, olives, sundried tomatoes and salty feta cheese.
10. BUY PLASTIC BOTTLES FOR PICNICS
Let’s be practical here – no-one wants to lug heavy glass bottles around when they could use a lightweight plastic bottle instead. Plastic bottles are stylish and fun and you can get really great wines in them, too. Try Backsberg’s Tread Lightly Sauvignon Blanc for the perfect picnic partner this summer.
Learn more at thewinecentre.co.za