Thirteen years ago this week, New York City went dark. Anyone who lived in the city during the “Great Blackout of 2003” will recall it as though it was yesterday. Now, as temperatures rise as they did during that infamous weekend, I double-check that my battery-powered hand-fan is safely tucked in my drawer of miscellaneous items, just below my pile of delivery menus.
When the heat becomes all-consuming and stepping outside an air-conditioned oasis seems like madness, we trade our plans with friends for Netflix and our red wines for crisp, refreshing whites.
But suppose I told you there were refreshing reds that are actually enhanced by a thirty-minute hangout in the fridge? My favorite warm weather wine secret is that summer reds are most delicious when chilled.
I didn’t know refreshment was color-blind until I tasted my first chilled red. I was minding my own business at a sommelier’s house when she offered me the glass without warning. At first, it was the taste equivalent of an oxymoron: The unexpected temperature confused my taste buds. But once I overcame my initial shock, I realized this might be something I could get behind.
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I’ve always felt that there needed to be a choice between rich smokiness and chilly freshness—like meat off the grill accompanied by a white wine on ice. But now, things have changed: Chilled reds offer both sensations at once.
Red wines that are enhanced by a slight chill tend to be light-bodied, with bright acidity and fresh fruit flavors (like raspberries or cherries). The reason these wines often lend themselves to a slight chill is they have all the characteristics that already provide refreshment—lightness, crispness, and a fruity profile—and are enhanced by a cool temperature.
Tamara Lover, an accredited sommelier, is Co-Founder of a start-up called Bottle Rush, a company democratizing wine by giving everyone their personal wine expert to help them find wines they’ll love, not like, but love.
Tamara’s passion for wine began like most wine love affairs – with one delicious bottle of wine.
While dining at a restaurant in New York City, the sommelier recommended a wine that would forever change her life. One sip of the Pinot Noir blew her away. By the end of the glass, Tamara knew how she wanted to spend every moment of her spare time - finding that next great bottle of wine.
In 2008, Tamara graduated with her WSET Diploma of Wine and Spirits (DWS) from the International Wine Center (IWC). She was also a weekly wine columnist for the Gothamist for five years and inducted as an honorary member of the Compagnons du Beaujolais, a historic Burgundian wine society.
Tamara resides in NJ with her husband and two children. Feel free to ask her any wine related questions – especially about her favorite wine hacks.