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By Louise Wilson Cormier MW

It’s July in Ontario. When I checked the weather forecast this morning, there was a heat warning and a fog advisory. Let’s just say it’s more than a little humid.

But how to “food and wine” when the mercury starts to rise? What if your go-to vino is a glass of red? What pairs with hot weather?

One of my favourite ways to enjoy red wine in the summer is with a slight chill. In my opinion, red wine is often served too warm, no matter what time of year. At room temperature, let’s say 20-22°C, wines can seem out of balance. Cooling them down to 18°C will bring them back into harmony, providing a more enjoyable sip.

For lighter-bodied red wines, dropping the temperature even a few degrees further (15-16°C) will accentuate the fruit, creating a refreshing summer sip. Barbera is the perfect wine to dial up by cooling it down. This moreish grape variety tends to have lots of bright cherry fruit and lighter tannins, making it the perfect candidate for 30 minutes in the fridge before serving.

Barbera has naturally high acidity – the part of wine that makes you go ahhhhh after a sip. This quench factor also makes Barbera a dream for food matching. Each sip cleanses the palate, enhancing the taste of the meal. Pair with various summer dishes, such as cedar plank salmon, grilled pork & mushroom skewers or black bean smash burgers.

Interested in finding a Barbera to try? Check out these delicious, small-batch examples from Asti, Alba and Langhe in northern Italy’s Piedmont region.

Until next time,

Louise Wilson Cormier MW

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