I know it’s been raining and that sometimes, a breeze comes with it but it is still hot hot hot here in the Philippines. It’s so hot that you are no longer sure why you said yes to grilling slabs of pork for lunch. You go to the fridge for some iced tea to quench your thirst and possibly to quench your soul since the heat has already reached your bones, a place quite close to soul territory. Ahhh, iced tea. It hits the spot for most. However, there are others who need something stronger.
When the thermometer on your phone says it’s 35°C, wine would never come to mind. Sometimes, I don’t even consider drinking wine when the heat is unbearable. There are wines meant for hot weather though and I have been heeding my own advice for the past few days.
In the past month, as I complained about the heat in Manila, Cabanatuan, and Batac, I thought about my own wines and whether all or some of them are heatwave-ready.
The ideal is a wine that has a lower alcohol content than most of our wines. Ours are at 15% except for De La Bodega and Ambaristo. High alcohol content would make the heat worse and if you opt to drink rich wines in this weather, you’d feel really sleepy too.
The good news is, our wines are exotic. You can still drink a glass of Basidina or Virginia Blush despite their high alcohol content. They must be served at the right temperatures though.
Virginia Blush and De La Bodega are high acid wines making them heatwave-ready. They are lively, refreshing, and are consistent crowd favourites whenever we host small wine tasting events. They have enough zing for summer days and hot rainy days. They also have just the right alcohol content for you to feel a bit tipsy. Light, crisp alcoholic drinks such as Basidina also fare well when the weather is hot. Ambaristo, although a red, is a wonderful choice, too.
Virginia Blush is my absolute favourite, my go-to wine for every season and occasion. A slightly frizzy concoction, Virginia Blush offers a sweet, fruity ending to every meal. It can be paired with food as well if you are the adventurous type. Pork or lamb chops go so well with this wine. It can also be paired with pasta topped with creamy sauces, fish, and salads.
De La Bodega, our gorgeous sweet white wine, is a fruity little number that can be paired with summer fruits and chiffon cakes. Smoke Bar & Restaurant’s strawberry shortcake goes so well with a glass of De La Bodega. You can also try it with La Preciosa’s carrot cake if you happen to be in our neck of the woods.
De La Bodega has this rather intimate relationship with our family because for decades, the bodega has always been a source of many wonderful things, wine being one of these things. This wine from the bodega reminds me of a cool breeze as it has this capability to cool you off during those hot summer nights.
Basidina, the wine named after my mother Dina, is a thirst quencher meant for those who do not like sweet whites. It is crisp and reveals a bit of tartness. It is light and smooth and just beautiful. You can opt to drink this on its own but it is more enjoyable with grilled blue marlin with lemon and butter sauce or with pasta topped with cream, cheese, and salmon.
Ambaristo, one of our sweetest wines, is perfect for hot days as well. This is a light bodied wine that is fruity and enjoyable. It has very little tannin and has low alcohol content.
I wouldn’t suggest Basi Puro this time of year despite my undying love for the brand. This is the wine that started the Basi del Diablo line and it will always occupy a huge place in my heart. Basi Puro takes some getting used to. This is old school basi often enjoyed by war veterans.
Basi Maria, although a wonderful companion for meat dishes, will make the weather seem hotter. I love it though but I usually save my Basi Maria stash for Christmas.