Storing wine in summertime
For the wines we buy for short-term consumption, heat isn't much of an issue. As long as you intend to drink up your wine within a few weeks, simply keep it out of direct sunlight and away from extreme heat, and all will be well.
But those few special wines that actually need cellar time to achieve full maturity will thrive only under good cellar conditions, kept in cool, dark quarters, lying on their sides so the cork stays wet.
A constant temperature of 55F (13C) is strongly preferred, but hard to attain in a modern home unless you have a natural wine cellar or expensive wine-refrigeration unit. Since most wine lovers can't really justify the expense of such storage, keeping wine for any length of time becomes a serious concern, especially during summer heat. If your wine-storage area never goes above the low 70s F (21C), you don't have much to worry about. But if you must subject your ageworthy wines to more than one or two summers in the 80s F (over about 25C), you will find them maturing too quickly and not too well, developing the oxidized and "stewed fruit" qualities that show up in a wine that's been "cooked."
If your home or apartment is likely to be uncomfortably warm during the summer, it's prudent to purchase only as much wine as you can enjoy during the next few weeks. Still, if you want to risk a few ageworthy Bordeaux, California Cabernets or sturdy Rhones or Italian reds, I wouldn't worry too much about holding them through one or two hot summers.
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An ageworthy Australian red
Very dark garnet, with buttery oak aromas surrounding black, plummy fruit and spice. Big, juicy and ripe flavor, mixed fruit and sweet oak, structured by fresh-fruit acidity. Quite oaky now, but with ample fruit and structure to suggest that the flavors will become more integrated with time. U.S. importer: Southcorp Wines North America, Monterey, Calif. (March 16, 2000)
FOOD MATCH: A natural match with filetto al Barolo, Marcella Hazan's filet mignons pan-grilled with red wine.
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Vol. 2, No. 9, March 20, 2000