Try it if you dare (Photo: Getty Images)

Is it ever OK to put ice in your wine?

A fruity rosé inspires Henry to issue some eyebrow-raising advice, and a new IPA has Alice feeling festive. 

BEAU DE FRANCE ROSÉ 2017

13%, France, $13.99 from Fine Wine Delivery Co

Here at The Spinoff, it’s hot take season – all month long, we’re shooting our hottest opinions, straight from the hip. But there’s one I didn’t have the foresight to put in the calendar: you can (and sometimes should) put ice in wine.

Look – I’m not saying you can (or should) put ice in all wine. If you’ve laid down some cash on something nice, and you want to taste all those nuances uninterrupted by extra water and extra coldness, please do not put ice in your wine. But if it’s a hot afternoon or a balmy evening, and you’re drinking something you want to enjoy cold, but don’t need to focus on every flavour particle, why not put a little ice in your glass to keep it cold?

A ros(é) among thorns (Photo: Henry Oliver)

Here’s the thing: in order to not end up with a watery glass of wine, you need to start with the wine as cold as possible and (this is where it gets counterintuitive) use more than one cube of ice. If the weather is hot enough, one cube will melt pretty quick, and your drink will get weak. If you have two or three cubes in there (or one or two big ones), the warming will be slower and the ice will last longer.

Also: you need a flavourful wine to start with. Throw some ice in a subtle glass of something and you’ll end up tasting almost nothing, but start with something fruity and lively, and it’ll withstand the slight weakening. Wanna try it out? Start with this Beau de France rosé, made from 100% syrah from the Pays d’Oc region in France. It’s bright, bold, and juicy. Perfect with a couple of cubes if the day is hot enough…

(End note: I also endorse drinking certain beers in certain contexts on ice. You can thank me later.)

Verdict: Drink ice cold.

Henry Oliver

HOPPY HOLIDAYS IPA

6.3%, 440ml, $8.99 from Fine Wine Delivery Co 

What beer to drink at Christmas is a conundrum I’m faced with every year. I want something a little more festive than my usual go-to hoppy numbers, but the spiced dark ales, gingerbread stouts and aged doppelbocks they favour in the northern hemisphere don’t seem quite right amid pōhutukawa and jandals.

I usually end up drinking copious amounts of bubbly instead, and then, when the good stuff runs out and my palate can’t take much more of whatever was on special for $10 at Countdown, I push past the green bottles and hope to find a halfway decent beer at the back of the fridge.

It’s a tried-and-true routine that works for me, but this year I’ll be mixing it up with Behemoth’s Hoppy Holidays IPA. I love me a hop pun, so it’s off to a good start. Ol’ mate Churly, Behemoth’s mascot of sorts, graces the can wearing a Santa hat and brandishing a sausage with tongs, set against a classic Kiwi beach Christmas scene. So far so good.

Festive AF (Photo: Alice Neville)

Behemoth absolutely churns out IPAs and they’re always bloody good. Every week it would seem there’s a new one, with nary a dud among them.

Thankfully, Hoppy Holidays does not diverge from this pattern. Packed with as many hops as the stocking of a very well-behaved (read: rich) child – namely Kiwi legends Nelson Sauvin, Motueka and Riwaka, with some Galaxy from our cobbers across the ditch thrown in too – it’s an absolute treat as soon as you open the can. That aroma! Take a sip and it’s all passionfruit, orange and pineapple deliciousness. Bloody yum, I tell you.

Now, to be fair, there’s nothing much traditionally “Christmassy” about this beer, other than the label. But what even is Christmas? Let us shake of the shackles of the old world and embrace a new kind of Christmas, I say. A Christmas of hoppy New Zealand deliciousness.

Anyway, the beer is called Hoppy Holidays, not Hoppy Christmas, and this is definitely a beer for the summer hols. (Some numpty commenter on the Behemoth Facebook page attributed this fact to a hidden PC agenda. Probably reckons Jacinda wants to ban Christmas or something. I’d say the fact that Hoppy Holidays is plainly a better name for a beer than Hoppy Christmas is more likely the reason.)

So anyway, drink up. It’s 6.3%, which is not exactly low on the alcohol scale, but not exactly high either. And surely, when one is on holiday, one can alter one’s definition of sessionable to suit the occasion.

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Verdict: Ho ho ho ho ho ho ho ho hoppy.

Alice Neville

This content was created in paid partnership with Fine Wine Delivery Company. Learn more about our partnerships here


The Spinoff’s beverage content is brought to you by Fine Wine Delivery Co, which is completely and utterly devoted to good taste, whether it’s wine, food, craft beer, whisky, rum… Check out their website or pop into one of the two Auckland superstores.

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