As the temperatures begin to climb, our palates undergo a bit of a metamorphosis. The full-bodied red wines of winter lead way to the lighter, more crisp rosés and whites that are best enjoyed chilled and in the great outdoors.
After a recent trip to Napa, I booked a tasting at Mira Winery and am calling it now: Franc Blanc will be the drink of summer. The refreshing pour is derived from a Cabernet Franc grape that has limited contact with its skin, giving it a slightly pink hue with a yellowish base. It sips like a bolder rosé or white, but is still, at least in technical terms, a red—the perfect warm-weather choice for the friend who doesn’t want to give up a more robust texture and flavor.
Ed Thralls, president of Mira Winery, is obviously a fan of his company’s innovative concoction.
“The Mira Estate Franc Blanc 2021 is a great spring or summertime option because of its bright freshness, light floral and stone fruit notes, and endless acidity on the finish,” Ed says. “It’s an easy sipper for any outdoor, backyard, or picnic occasion. We try not to say ‘porch pounder’ but it’s pretty close.”
But no outdoor soirée is ready without an appropriate wine vessel to keep my new favorite bottle chilled during warmer days and nights. So, to help keep things nice and cool, I’ve rounded up three of my favorite wine chillers to use in the coming months.
Check out my top picks below, as well as a few expert tips from Thralls on how to chill a bottle of vino most effectively.
1. Uashmama Wine Bag and Cooler, $44
This wine bag and cooler is as stylish as it is functional. Available in a whopping eight colors, it can coordinate everything from a festive spring outfit to an oversized picnic blanket. Manufactured in Italy with water- and stain-resistant paper, it is stretched and tanned to imitate leather, but is completely sustainable with a cultivated fiber material that doesn’t contribute to deforestation. A friend to alcohol and the environment? Now that’s worth a cheers.
2. Vinglacé Wine Bottle Cooler, $90+
Double-walled and vacuum-insulated, the Vinglacé wine bottle cooler works overtime to keep your favorite vino at the perfect temperature. Simply unscrew the top, pop in your favorite bottle, and it will keep it cold for up to four hours. You can even use it for beverages beyond adult libations, like lemonades, juices, or iced tea. The cooler can also be purchased with two glass-lined tumblers so you can pour on the go.
3. Marble Utensil Crock,
We love kitchen decor that serves multiple purposes. This signature marble utensil crock may be great at keeping your favorite whisks, ladles, and spoons within arm’s reach, but it also doubles as a wine chiller. Pro tip: Toss your new favorite counter topper in the freezer beforehand for an extra-chilly surface that will last a lot longer.
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While these products are wonderful additions to any wine accessory arsenal, there are some general wine-chilling tips to keep in mind before popping corks. We asked Thralls for his answers to your most frequently asked questions.
What is the best way to chill a bottle of wine?
There are many ways to chill your bottle of wine: refrigerator, freezer, ice bucket, wine bags, and more. At home, it takes about 30 to 40 minutes to chill a bottle in the freezer.
How do you chill wine in an ice bucket?
If you use an ice bucket, be sure to add water, as well, as it will chill down faster versus using only ice.
What should you look for in a wine chiller bag?
With the ice bucket tip in mind, I might look for a chiller bag that can hold ice and water. If you don’t want the potential mess of water and melting ice, put a well-chilled bottle from the fridge or freezer into an insulated wine bag that can hold an ice pack. This will keep it cool by the time you reach your destination.
What temperature should a lighter wine be before you sip it?
Ultimately, you want to enjoy white wines at temps of 45 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Many people think you should throw a bottle of white wine in the refrigerator as soon as you buy it and leave it there until you’re ready to drink it, whether that’s tonight, tomorrow, or two weeks from now. Sipping wine that is still at refrigerator temperature will be too cold and aromas will be muted at first. Instead, pop the bottle into the fridge when you start cooking dinner and it will be good to go by the time you’re ready to start eating. Or, let the wine sit on the counter if it has been in the refrigerator for a while and have it come up to a temperature of about 45 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
Rule of thumb: The lighter the wine, the cooler the temperature. White wine is best served several degrees above refrigerator temperature.
What about other wines? What is the ideal temperature?
If you are holding your wines for an extended period of time, you can do so at the ideal temp of 55 degrees Fahrenheit, no matter if it is white, rosé, or red, though some may choose a little cooler temp for white (45 to 55 degrees).