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Where Y’Eat: Summer Is Sinking In, Find the Wines to Get You Through

Wine and cheese for another porch hang in New Orleans
Photo by Ian McNulty
Wine and cheese for another porch hang in New Orleans

In New Orleans, a wine lover may bow before Bordeaux and marvel at malbec. But then comes summer, our summer, and all bets are off, especially for heavier red wines.


It’s time for wines that can cut through it all, wines that are refreshing and quenching.


I’m usually talking about food here on Where Y’Eat. But lets face it, in New Orleans where you eat and where you drink are usually the same place. Right now, wine is more on topic than ever.


The New Orleans Wine & Food Experience is back next week, a wine festival drawing wine makers and wine lovers to its events, from giant, self-guided wine tastings to more intimate wine dinners. Get info at nowfe.com.


More broadly, a city known to be a little extra thirsty has lately been giving more attention to wine. There are more small wine shops around town, and more wine bars too. Wines on tap now sprout next to the draft beer, even at some neighborhoods spots.


It’s a good time to think about the summer wines that will live in your ice bucket and your fridge door the next few months. When you’re trying to track one down, it helps to be able to describe it. I’ve been collecting some tips from pros and conducting my own research in the field.


Here’s a good starting point – ask for wines with good acidity. That only sounds harsh. An acidic wine should taste lean, bright and crisp. Think of biting into a ripe summer tomato. Good acidity in wine has the same effect.


Then there’s rosé. Its color can be soothing on sight, but its beauty is more than skin deep. These wines are inherently refreshing and light and they pair well with our summer food, from picnics to patios.


Of course red wines aren’t off the table. But on a hot day, just like you, they’ll probably be better off after a cold dunk. Chill them down and many become ready for summer duty.


And when the heat really gets you down, turn to the wines that rise above — the bubbly. After all, when you’re looking down the barrel of another long New Orleans summer, sometimes it helps to have a tall glass to look up to.

Ian covers food culture and dining in New Orleans through his weekly commentary series Where Y’Eat.