Summer Lovin’ Had Me a Glass
Stop Whining and Start Wine-ing Vol. V
You’re free! You’re finally free! (Provided you don’t have any summer courses, and your summer job doesn’t start too soon after the semester is over).
I’m guessing you’re feeling run down, frazzled, and ready to just let loose, right? So, let’s celebrate summer like true Montrealers and get drunk in some parks, ensuring we’re following Montreal’s picnic rule that is.
Pour a Cup of la Vie En Rosé
Casa Santos Lima Bons-Ventos (SAQ code 12221151)
11.55$ at the SAQ
Okay folks, you know the drill. It’s summer and summer means rosé. Wait, what? You’ve only ever had that syrupy, artificially sweet rosé that your aunt brought to Christmas one year and it gave you a massive headache? (She clearly missed Vol. II of Stop Whining: It’s the most wine-derful time of the year!) Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered! Rosé can be a really great summer wine, but oftentimes it gets overlooked in favour of its more popular cousins, red and white.In the words of Demi Lovato, I promise that after drinking this wine, you and rosé will be ‘Cool for the Summer’. It’s from Portugal and boasts flavours of strawberry, raspberry, and some hints of grapefruit on the finish. It’s just what the wine doctor ordered after a long winter!
Spending Summer in the Hamptons (or Hampstead)
Aveleda Vinho Verde (SAQ code 5322)
11.45$ at the SAQ
There’s nothing quite like a refreshing glass of white wine. Nothing, except a whole bottle of white wine… for you and your friend obviously. It’s probably not a good idea to drink the whole bottle by yourself, especially not if it’s after seeing some of your final grades, but you’d be forgiven if you did after you taste how good this wine is! It has notes of citrus, granny smith apples, and (stick with me on this) chalk. The chalky taste isn’t off putting though, it actually gives it a really nice tartness that can cut through even the most intense heatwave. It leaves you feeling refreshed and ready for another sip! Also, Vinho Verde (another Portuguese wine) typically has a lower alcohol content, so it’s great for a lunchtime picnic on Mount Royal with a special someone! You’ll feel like you’re ‘Walking On Sunsh(w)ine' right until the last drop.
For those hot summer nights, clothing optional:
Lindeman’s Bin 50 Shiraz (SAQ code 145367)
10.95$ at the SAQ
Let’s face it, Montreal weather is like a trail mix with no m&m’s; we never know what we’re gonna get but we can be sure we'll complain about it. In the summer, it gets hot and sweaty, and that usually doesn’t lend itself to darker wine drinking, but sometimes you just want a nice glass of red at the end of a busy day. So what’s an aspiring wine lover to do? Drink this, of course! This Australian Shiraz has some great dark fruit notes, like plumb, black cherry, and even some slight notes of eucalyptus, both on the nose and tongue. The spice notes are peppery and woody. The tannin (which is that mouth-drying feeling some wines have) is mild but makes it quite refreshing, and the body (how it feels in the glass and in your mouth) is beach ready in every sense of the term! There will be absolutely no SummerWine Sadness with this wine by your side!
I Love it When You Call Me Sangria
Lan Rioja Crianza (SAQ code 741108)
17.40$ at the SAQ
At its core, Stop Whining and Start Wine-ing is, obviously, a wine column. It would be sacrilege, then, if we didn’t talk about Sangria in our summer volume. Originating from Spain and Portugal, Sangria is a wine cocktail, which includes wine, fruit, spirits, juice, and bubbles. To be completely honest with you, Sangria is a drink that sometimes gets looked down on in the wine community. For some, the idea of mixing wines is kind of like butchering beautiful paintings. But let’s flip the script on the wine snob—Sangria can actually be as great and complex as any glass of Pinot Noir!
The key is to not use crappy ingredients, as so many of us on a budget tend to do. The better your ingredients, the better your sangria. Obviously don’t bust out the special vintage bottle your parents are saving for your wedding, but Lan Rioja Crianzaone should do nicely. This wine comes from Spain, and it’s a little bit on the drier side (not as sweet) so keep that in mind when choosing your other ingredients.
Another element that will boost your sangria game is brandy; a distilled wine liqueur with a sweeter taste and notes of flowers, fresh and dried fruits, and citrus zest. The final alcohol that will knock your sangria out of the park is Triple Sec which is distinctly orangey and herbaceous.
Now for the fun part: mixing! You can mix and match so many flavours it can be overwhelming, so let me simplify it for you: you need juice, a bubble (carbonation), and fruit. Your juice should almost always be at least one of the fruits you’re planning to put in your sangria. For example: I used orange juice, so I definitely sliced some fresh oranges and added them to the mix. Feel free to also add whatever’s just kicking around your kitchen— apples, grapes, cherries, all the various berries, cut them up and pop them in! This is a great way to avoid food waste by using up all your old fruit that you otherwise would have thrown away.
Another pro tip is to put your fruits in whatever you’re going to be serving your sangria in (a bottle, pitcher, or bathtub, it doesn’t matter but make sure it has a lid) and add your wine, then leave it to macerate (maceration is when something sits in liquid and breaks down, allowing it to infuse with the liquid) for a few hours. That way, your fruits taste like yummy wine, and your sangria has a more vibrant flavour.
Now for the bubbles. This is all up to personal taste here, but I’ll make some suggestions: if you want sangria that isn’t too sweet, use club soda and add sweeteners like sugar or agave syrup. If you want a sugary one, you’re gonna want to go with something like Sprite or 7-up, and if you’re a middle of the road gal like me, you use a mix of the two! Make things interesting by using ginger ale – a personal favourite. Or do something crazy like adding a dry or semi-sweet cider for your bubbles! (Don’t forget the apples if you do that though!)
1 bottle of wine
1/3 cup of brandy
1/3 cup of triple sec
750ml of juice
375ml of bubbles (or to taste)
As much fruit as your grocery budget allows
Add your wine and cut up fruit and store on the counter for at least an hour, if not more
Add the brandy and triple sec
Add your juice
Add your bubbles (at least one can, if not more) right before serving to keep the carbonation for as long as possible
Add the ice to the individual glasses to avoid watering down the whole thing, or better yet just serve it at room temp
Stir and enjoy!
Phew… well that was a lot of writing and whining, and I’ve worked up a sweat. Good thing I have this yummy sangria I made! I’ll see you guys in September, but in the meantime, get out there and have fun, because before you know it we’ll be putting our winter coats back on!
I’ll be at the pool if you need me,
Cheers, or as we say at Stop Whining, bottoms up!