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Berger: When it's hot out, cut the alcohol

On a recent trip to Washington D.C., we found a caf?table in the shade, a good idea since the temperature and humidity were both in the high 90s.

Perusing the wine list, I could find only one wine that was a candidate to go with lunch, a ros?

The server said it was dry. I asked for a sip to try it.

It was dry — sort of. But the wine tasted clumsy, so I opted for water. Later I learned that this ros?was actually 14.5% alcohol, which should explain my "sort of" phrase.

Some people may be fine with dry wines with high alcohol, but I always find that the heat from the alcohol detracts from the refreshing nature of such wines.

When the thermometer reaches triple digit territory, something chillable and light is the best solution.

I'll never forget an interview I did with Australian winemaker Mark Swann in 1982. We were to meet at a caf?in San Diego on a very hot day. Swann chose a table with no shade. And he had with him a chilled bottle of his Cabernet Sauvignon Ros?

As I sat down, he poured a glass of the wine for me and added two ice cubes! "This is the way to enjoy wine when it's hot," he said.

His cabernet ros?was only 12.5% alcohol and adding ice brought it down to about 10%. A perfect way to cool down.

As the thermometer rose this week, I began to shop for summer wines.


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