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Why Drinking Overchilled Wine is a Summertime Must

My yard needed a lot of work this year. It was hot, dirty and laborious, the type of job I’d normally punctuate with a frosty-cold beer. Except that wasn’t what I craved. I wanted something with good acidity, bright fruit, maybe some herbal notes, nothing sweet. I wanted wine, and I wanted it cold.

It’s well drilled into my head that white wine and rosé, depending on weight and style, should be served 45–55˚F, and reds 55–65˚F. But who would know if I broke the rules in my own home? What’s the harm?

On these long, hot, outdoor days, I encourage you to drink your whites and rosés straight from the refrigerator.

So I took an ice-cold can of Riesling out of the fridge, poured a little into a cup, and carried the rest outside to the stoop, where I sat and drank while my dog ran around. The wine warmed a little in the humid late afternoon. Condensation dripped off the stemless glass. I knew in that moment that this would become a habit.

We talk a lot about how wine is about a place and a moment. Usually, that refers to its production, but where and when we actually drink also affects our enjoyment. On these long, hot, outdoor days, I encourage you to drink your whites and rosés straight from the refrigerator. If you’re working with a light, fruity red, do the same for that.

There are two reasons this is so satisfying: The first is a little romantic, for the sheer sensation of drinking something cold on a hot day. For me, it’s reminiscent of being a kid, running inside from the playground, drinking juice right out of the fridge.

But the second is practical. If you want to sit outside with your wine—and I do—it’s going to warm up, especially because we’re likely to use more durable, stemless glasses while outdoors. If you pour wine straight out of the fridge, your first sips will pack that cooling sensation. As you sit and socialize (or watch your dog run around), your wine will come to the appropriate temperature, and you can appreciate it all the more.

Of course, this isn’t a rule, and it doesn’t work for everything. Please don’t pull a perfectly aged white Burgundy from your cellar and drink it at 40˚F. But as August stretches on, if you find yourself looking to kick back in your freshly tended yard with a cold, refreshing glass of something, if beer doesn’t quite seem like what you’re after, I urge you to dive right into the bottle that’s calling from the fridge.