Today, it is in the 70s. It's sunny and warm and promises only to be warmer as the week progresses. And my mind is already numbed by the plethora of white wine that I drink, and I won't drink rosé yet because I'm super butch, and butch people don't drink rosé until after Bastille Day, July 14. This is true. This is totally true! Inquire at the French consulate if you don't believe me. And my thirst moves in a direction where I want cool, but I want substance. I want something to eat hot dogs with; to throw down with a bunch of cured, smoked, or grilled fish; or maybe nothing but to enjoy by itself. And my attention turns to those translucent, ruby-colored red wines that one sees on the shelves now and then in the red wine section. What is that? It's lightly pressed, maybe, or it might be the property of the grape, thin-skinned without a lot of pigment to give off. Gamay Noir, Pineau d'Aunis, Brachetto... these come to mind, and they all lend themselves to a chill.
Some, like Chateau d'Arlay's Corail, from the Côtes du Jura, are these rare and amazing anomalies that are field blends of both red and white grapes, throwbacks to a time when wine was made by blending everything together: white and red grapes, lightly pressing and calling it a day. That would be back in the time of Antiquity! They call these wines "antique wines, vins de l'antiquité." Yes! Super-light, super-perfumed, fucking gorgeous, and chilled. There is nothing wrong with doing this... it's okay! Pascal Janvier makes a one hundred percent Pineau d'Aunis, from deep in the Loire Valley at one of its northern extremes, in a small appellation called Jasnières, which is better known for its chenin blanc, which he also makes and is also BOMB. You could say objectively that the wine smells like fresh-ground black pepper. It's savory, it's light, and it will cause you to lie down and contemplate the lameness of your life up to this point... don't regret! Just enjoy, now that it's here.
These wines can be found in the city, mostly under $20, with the exception of the Château d'Arlay, which sells in the $25 range... but that's because it is a wine of Antiquity! You gotta pay for that shit, son! And it's worth it. Places to look: Pike and Western Wine Shop, Esquin Wine Merchants, Whole Foods Interbay, Bar Ferd'nand. And here, you will find a guide to your ideal serving temperatures for wine. You're welcome!
55 degrees: ideal storing temperature (cellar)
35 degrees: the average temperature of a refrigerator
64–68 degrees: Ports and darker sweet wines of that ilk
59–64 degrees: full-bodied red wines (Bordeaux blends, Syrah, etc.)
55–60 degrees: light-to-medium-bodied red wines (pinot noir, some nebbiolo)
50–55 degrees: lighter-bodied red wines like Beaujolais (Gamay Noir, Pineau d'Aunis); oaked, richer, and oxidized whites (chardonnay, chenin blanc, some of the northern Italian and Slovenian whites—Friulano, ribolla gialla, pinot grigio)
45–50 degrees: lighter, aromatic white wines (pinot gris, sauvignon blanc, Riesling, sparkling wines)
43–47 degrees: sweet white wines (Sauternes, Muscat, Riesling)
Marc Papineau is The Stranger's wine columnist. He is also the owner of Bar Ferd'nand and wine director of the London Plane. He likes wine.