Cuvaison & Chill: How to Happy Hour with Pinot Noir


Cuvaison & Chill: How to Happy Hour with Pinot Noir

By Patricia Tortolani | April 3, 2020 | Food & Drink

When the temperatures begin to rise, refreshing treats take on many forms. Steve Rogstad, winemaker for Napa Valley winery Cuvaison, makes a case for the cool-climate pinot.

iStock867398726HIGHRESPE.jpgRed on the rocks? Never. “One might be tempted to cool it with some ice cubes, but this will dilute the flavor and flatten the finish,” says Rogstad.

Consider where your vines grow...

“Cuvaison is in the heart of Los Carneros, which is cool-climate country. What’s that have to do with summer sippin’? Well, cool-climate varieties tend to have thinner skins (less color and harsh tannins), and the climate retains the natural acidity in the grape, meaning the wines have a lovely bright tartness on the finish, which is super refreshing in hot weather.”

Red can be refreshing...

“Pinot noir is a medium- bodied red, with fresh acidity and red fruits on the palate—think plums and wild strawberries—which lends itself to being served slightly chilled and whose refreshing aftertaste makes it a perfect summer red. And if you want a red to pour with summer cuisine, our pinot noir is a delicious match with lighter, simpler fare, such as grilled meat, fish, sushi and summery salads.”

Be chill—but not too chill...

“Overcooling wine is basically the equivalent of putting it on mute. My trick is to pop a bottle (or three)in the fridge about an hour before my guests arrive; this will get it down to about 50 to 55 F before serving, a perfect temperature for enjoying pinot noir or, as the French would say, servir frais.

Photography by: Lightfield Studios/Stock Photo