Dining outside can be a treat, but it has a way of affecting how we enjoy our meals, which includes wine—which I consider to be an extra course in the meal.
In the waning days of summer, many people take to patios and other alfresco venues, which is one way to avoid turning on air conditioning and escape the confines of hot home environments.
This, however, calls for a slight adjustment in the way wine typically is served, although some people do not realize the impact dining outside imposes on how we appreciate our wine. And not knowing this can create problems for some serious wine people.
If you consider wine to simply be a beverage whose primary function is to be wet, then most of the following will have little impact on the way you dine outside. But wine lovers should appreciate some of these ideas.
First is the fact that dining out-of-doors imposes different scents on our noses. These include things like trees (leaves), plants (jasmine!), pool chlorine, cut grass, automobile exhaust (diesel?!), ablaze charcoal briquettes, lighter fluid, and neighbors' cigarettes.
None of this is appealing when it comes to serving fine wine. I have several stories that apply here. Almost none ended positively.
For one thing, mature bottles of red wine are best served in environments where there is no extraneous aromatic impact. That includes serving them where no one is cooking aromatic dishes that intrude on the delicate nuances in mature red wines.
Outside? Bad idea.
For that reason, I suggest avoiding classic old wines, whether white or red, when dining outside. All the imposed smells listed above will probably invade the noses of those who care, ruining the experience.