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A Master Sommelier's Summer Wine Hosting Guide

Jun 18, 2018·by Jessica Rotondi

A summer without wine is like an Oreo without milk: sure, it’s possible to enjoy it alone, but it’s way more delicious when paired with sweet, sweet liquid. Since we love summer hosting here at Boxed, we sat down with Master Sommelier Dustin Wilson of Verve Wines and the award-winning documentary Somm on Netflix (psst: he’s also the taster for our wine delivery program here at Boxed) and asked him all of our burning questions about storing wine, serving wine, and drinking wine this summer.

Help! My guest brought a bottle of wine to the dinner party. Am I expected to open it and serve right away, or can I serve what I planned on pairing with the meal and save the gift for later?

The best thing to do is find a spot in the dinner to serve it side-by-side with another wine that you had planned for that course. It’s definitely not necessary to open it right away!

It gets hot at all those outdoor BBQs. How does heat impact the flavor of wine?

Wine should never really be exposed to heat. If you’re cooking outside and it’s hot out, keep the wine in a cooler. It doesn’t need to be kept cold, but just cool. That goes for reds and whites!

Can I ever serve white wine at room temperature? And are you seriously saying I should chill RED wine?

It’s not ideal to serve wine at room temperature, as even full-bodied red wines should ideally be served at 65 degrees Fahrenheit. A good trick is to just cool the wine down in the fridge before you serve it. Just about 20 minutes should do it for reds. Whites are best around 50 degrees Fahrenheit, so those can stay in the fridge — just pull them out about 30 minutes before you’re ready to serve them.

Should I even serve red wine in the summer?

Hells yeah you can! I personally like lighter, zippier reds in the summer with a little chill on them, but whatever makes you happy is what you should do!

In a pinch, is it socially acceptable to put ice cubes in white wine or rose?

I always say “to each their own” here. If you like turning your wine into a wine cooler situation with a bunch of ice, that’s all good. I personally don’t recommend it, as it waters down the flavor of the wine. Just keep the wine in the fridge ahead of time if you like it cold.

What’s the best way to store opened wine bottles and how long does wine keep?

Put a cork back in the opened bottle and stick it in the fridge. It should last about 3-4 days, depending on the wine.

What’s the correct way to hold a wine glass?

By the stem. Holding it by the bowl of the glass will cause the wine to rise in temperature and not taste as good as it should.

What are some of your go-to summer entertaining wines?

I love Riesling, rose, and Pinot Noir in the warmer months.

How many bottles of wine should I buy for my dinner party?

This totally depends on your group and how long the party is going for. It’s usually good to budget a half of a bottle per person on the low end of the spectrum. A bottle per person is where things usually land if wine is the only thing to drink. This may seem like a lot, but remember that it’s only four glasses of wine per person over a three to four-hour dinner party, so it’s pretty easy to do…

Do you have any wine cocktail recipes for summer?

Make a spritz by mixing about 1.5 oz of Aperol into 5 oz of Prosecco and serve it over ice in a wine glass with an orange slice for a garnish.

What’s the best wine to bring to a party?

The best wine to bring to a party is always Champagne!

Shop summer wine in bulk, with fast, free delivery by Boxed here.

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