Living in a tropical climate poses some particular problems to wine consumers. The high heat and intense humidity levels in tropical countries are not conducive to bringing out the best in your favorite wines. Red wines may feel overwhelmingly heavy, while whites and roses seem bland and boring, when the temperature is too hot.
So how can you make sure that, whether at home or in a restaurant, your wine is at the right temperature and at its most enjoyable throughout the whole experience? The following list will help you to make the most of every bottle.
1. Make sure the wine has been properly stored
To enjoy your wine it must be in good condition, this is rule number one. One of the most important keys to enjoying your wine is to make sure it has been protected from heat, excess humidity, movement, and temperature variation. Ideally it should be stored in a dedicated cellar which maintains a constant temperature of around 13 ℃ and a humidity of about 60%.
2. Serve wine at the appropriate temperature
To fully appreciate your wine, even in the heat, make sure you serve it at the proper temperature. Sparkling wines and lighter white wines should be well chilled, between 6-10 ℃, while fuller white wines can be a bit warmer, between 10-14 ℃. Red wines are ideally served around 16-18 ℃.
3. Cool your glassware
Such a simple thing, yet we often forget it. It’s a hot summer day, you’ve perfectly chilled a refreshing bottle of wine, you pour it into a room temperature glass, and instantly your wine starts to lose its chill. Run some cool water over your glass, or put it in the refrigerator for a few minutes so that it will be the same temperature as your wine.
4. Chill your red wine
Now, we all know that red wine is supposed to be served at room temperature, but remember that rule was invented in Europe, not the tropics, before the days of central heating or global warming. Room temperature was significantly colder at that time. Red wine, especially lighter bodied reds, can be very refreshing with just a little chill on them.
5. Keep your bottle out of direct sunlight
Try your best to keep the bottle out of the sun. If you are dining outdoors, leave the bottle in the house, and if you are at a restaurant and you don’t have an icebucket, ask the staff to keep your bottle inside, perhaps in a cooler, until you are ready for another glass.
6. Maintain the bottle temperature
As mentioned before, an icebucket is one way to keep your bottle cool. It should be about half full of a mixture of ice and water, which cools faster than ice alone. For home use, you can find vacuum-insulated wine bottle coolers that fit a single bottle and keep it cool without ice. They also take up much less space than an icebucket. And if all else fails, wet a clean kitchen towel with cold water and wrap it tightly around the bottle. This will help keep the bottle cooler.
7. Use chilling rocks
Whiskey drinkers may be ahead of the wine world on this one. For those who don’t want their beverages watered down by melting ice, you can buy a set of whiskey stones, easily available online. Some are made from stainless steel and some are made from real stone, but either one can be popped into the freezer for a short time and then added to your glass of wine to help maintain the temperature without diluting the drink.
8. Freeze your wine
Another method of keeping your glass cold without diluting the wine? Freeze some of the wine and add the cubes to your glass. This does require some planning ahead, but it will keep your wine refreshing without watering it down. I don’t recommend this method for reds, heavy whites, or any very expensive wine, but it’s quite effective for roses and simple light white wines.
9. Avoid high alcohol wines in extremely hot weather
Heavy red wines just aren’t at their best in very hot weather. They are not refreshing, and the high alcohol content can dehydrate you faster, which will make it seem even heavier than it already is. There are gorgeous big reds out there, but to properly enjoy them, consider saving them for cooler weather.
10. Always serve water with wine
This may seem like a strange tip when this article is focused on wine, but for maximum enjoyment in hot weather, make sure to drink water alongside your wine. Being dehydrated will not help you enjoy the wine and could actually make you sick.
There you have it – 10 ways to maximize your enjoyment of wine in tropical countries. Using these tips will keep your wine refreshing and allow you to appreciate each bottle at its very best. And remember, stay hydrated!