Refreshing Wines for Warm Summer Days
Tips at first hand
Aperitifs in the early evening, a convivial outdoor barbecue, a delightful snack after a hike: what would summer be without it? And along with that, it goes without saying that Alto Adige wine should not be missing. We spoke with sommelier Paolo Tezzele, who provided us with some helpful hints on wine pairing for the summer.
- For you, which Alto Adige wines simply belong to the warm months?
In any case, a fresh Pinot Blanc, a crisp Müller Thurgau from the Isarco Valley or the higher areas of the Adige Valley, and last but not least a fruity Lagrein Kretzer/Rosé.
- What distinguishes these so-called “summer wines”? What characteristics should they have?
They should be fresh or, as they say in the wine world, they should be quaffable. On top of that, as a result of the higher temperatures during the summer, the choice should fall to wines that do not have too high of an alcohol content.
- Are there certain general guidelines that should be followed for wine pairing, regardless of the season?
Yes, of course. On one hand, the structure of the dish and of the wine should be approximately equivalent. That means that if we are enjoying light dishes in the summer, the wine should not be too heavy. The golden rule is that the wine should accompany the meal, not overpower it. If the dish is very rich in aromas, the wine should also have a certain aromatic quality. It is best if the wine balances the characteristics of the food. For example, if the dish very much emphasizes acidity, then the wine should have less acidity and, as a result of this, even out the relationship.
- Which wines would you recommend for a cookout?
That first and foremost depends upon what is being grilled. It could be a structured, barrel-aged white wine such as a Chardonnay, a fruity Santa Maddalena, an Alto Adige Pinot Noir, or a Merlot. And don’t forget: the wine must in any case be slightly chilled.
- Which wines are recommended for light summer dishes with seafood?
Wine connoisseurs have too many choices among Alto Adige white wines: a fresh Sauvignon Blanc, an aromatic Gewürztraminer, a Kerner, or a Sylvaner pair just as well as a Pinot Grigio does.
- Which wines would you recommend to go with salad?
Pairing wines with salads is difficult since the acidity of the wines is not compatible with the acidity of the vinegar or lemon in the salad dressings. Therefore, as a rule, we sommeliers do not pair any wine with them.
- Which wines would you recommend to go with Mediterranean dishes?
These dishes are distinguished for the most part by intense aromatic qualities that are to be traced back to the Mediterranean herbs that are used, such as basil, thyme, oregano, and so on. Accordingly, the choice should fall to wines that likewise have a significant aromatic quality. I would recommend a Sauvignon Blanc, a Sylvaner, a Kerner, a Müller Thurgau, or even a glass of rosé.
- Which wines would you recommend as a pleasant aperitif?
First and foremost, I think of the noble Alto Adige sparkling wines. And of course the fresh, light white wines with a low alcohol content and lively acidity.
- Which wines should be served with a classic South Tyrolean afternoon snack with speck (traditional Tyrolean farmer’s bacon), fine cheese, and crispy schüttelbrot (crisp bread with fennel seeds)?
Traditional varieties such as Alto Adige Schiava (Vernatsch), Lago di Caldaro, or Santa Maddalena always go nicely with this. Nevertheless, here is my recommendation: try it once with an Isarco Valley Sylvaner or Kerner, or else with an Alto Adige Gewürztraminer.
- What temperature should the wine be when it is served in the summertime?
Since as a result of the higher outdoor temperatures during the summer, the wines will get warm more quickly, they should fundamentally be served somewhat cooler. Even the red wines. I recommend keeping the bottles chilled and not pouring out too much wine at once, but rather more frequently so that the wine does not get too warm.
- Is there a particular wine from the new vintage that you would recommend to wine connoisseurs this summer?
No, not really. We have such a large selection in Alto Adige. I recommend again and again tasting a different wine, since it will never be boring, and some interesting surprises will pop up over and over again. As the saying goes: variety is the spice of life!
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