Cool climate wines — sure sounds good right about now as we start stringing together the hottest days of the year. Cool climate, icy mountain springs, fresh breezes, brisk nights around the campfire, that’s what we’re talking about. Right?
Well, yes. On the surface you could say that, but the truth is that when it comes to wine, cool climate wines are more a style of wine, influenced by grape variety as much as man and actual climate.
Cool climate wines tend to be lower in alcohol, higher in acidity and leaner, more austere than what are commonly referred to as warm climate wines. Many factors can come into play pushing a specific wine towards one style or the other, Pinot Noir being the poster child for covering this spectrum.
From thin, taught, acid-driven examples that come from the northern regions of France and Germany to the thick, dark, richly fruited and alcoholic examples coming from some prime California vineyards, Pinot Noir shows that many factors come into play when making a cool climate wine.
Ultimately, having a cool climate is a pretty good place to start and somehow the briskness of that cool climate is able to emerge from a bottle of wine, adding its sparkle and zest to your otherwise sweltering day and magically refreshing everyone it comes in contact with. So what are my favorite cool climate wines? Let’s take a look!
—Gregory Dal Piaz