Summer is here!

Summer is here and with it our constant desire to eat light food and drink refreshing beverages. And wine is no exception. We want to drink it chilled, and we want it to feel light on the palate without being oppressive or crushing the taste of the food, which we also want to be light and smooth.
Wine glass
However, in Portugal, with the advent of tourism and the growing number of visitors to our country, we see more and more people drinking rosé or even white wine with 1 or 2 ice cubes in the glass.

The Portuguese were perplexed at first by this situation, accustomed to giving an almost sacred character to the drinking of their wines. In daily conversations, the criticism is almost always destructive and even ridicules the use of ice: “they don’t know anything about wine”, “they just want to feel the freshness”, or even “for those who drink cheap wine, it doesn’t make much difference”. But are they completely wrong? What about eating cod with white wine? Or charcoal-grilled fish with red wine? Or sardines with white wine?


In all gastronomies we have preconceived ideas that have been passed down through generations and are part of our upbringing. When they are questioned, it’s almost as if the world is turned upside down.


Perhaps a good policy is not to repress, but to educate and then suggest something that allows the consumer to move on to something more in keeping with the full potential of proper consumption of good wine. For example, instead of refusing or saying that we don’t have ice, we could offer a white wine by the glass that has been properly chilled. And suitably chilled doesn’t mean room temperature, it means below room temperature; in other words, if the average temperature for a white wine is 10ºC, you can’t serve it at that temperature in the summer on a terrace. It’s best to serve it at 7ºC because the ambient temperature will raise the temperature of the wine in 10 minutes.


On the other hand, let’s imagine that the consumer really wants ice. Why not serve the glass of wine with those ice cubes that are sold in wrappers and allow you to feel the freshness of the wine without adding any dilution from mixing the water with the wine? But consumers still want ice because it’s fashionable or because they’re used to it. Why not serve wines like Rosé Piscine, a wine made to be drunk on the rocks and with grape varieties that allow for very strong aromatic concentrations that pass right through the ice used in the wine. Finally, if that still doesn’t work, why not large ice cubes that take longer to melt and allow the consumer to enjoy the aromatic and textural components of a good wine?   


What I mean is that in this age when it seems that everything is relative and that we are always in fashion by breaking barriers and taboos, or pre-established concepts, sometimes we should also value traditions that are based on thousands of years of evolution. These include the classic gesture of enjoying a good wine during the summer or a good cigar while taking in the beautiful scenery. Today we are in an infinite hurry to satisfy new market niches, or new age groups that are supposed to break old consumption habits, without having any intention of educating or informing these new consumers.

Where will this follow-the-leader approach to the market take us? Should there be no consumption patterns for certain products? Do customers tell us when and how to serve them? Or do we no longer have time to inform, educate or suggest? Or do we simply no longer want to know and therefore offer what the customer wants, without further ado? After all, what is quality of service? Is it simply giving what the customer wants or elevating them to more complex and sophisticated consumer platforms whenever possible?


I think the answer lies in choosing to educate or at least recommend something that can raise the bar for the experience, and in this case for wine tasting. Not suggesting for the sake of suggesting, but with knowledge based on the scientific and sensory knowledge of hundreds, if not thousands of years of wine tastings. If we don’t set some standards, then everything could potentially be relative and there won’t be a set of principles and knowledge that can serve as a beacon for the partial interpretation of reality.

But beyond all this, our assessments of whether wine should be served with or without ice depend on something very simple: your personal taste. Mine is to enjoy wine in a way that doesn’t vulgarize it, but simply treats it as a mean of reaching a higher state of our social consciousness. What about you?



Related Posts