June has seen scorching hot weather, some of the hottest days on record. The last time the mercury edged this high was in the 1970’s and no fashionable summer dinner party was complete until someone had opened a bottle of one of Portugal’s most famous exports Mateus Rose to accompany their Parma ham and melon balls! One of the things I love about wine is that just like food there is always a new taste to discover so let me introduce you to one I’ve discovered recently.
Chilled red. Yes I’ve discovered recently that there are many reds which are perfectly suited for chilling. Lighter bodied reds such as Beaujolais, Barolos and even Pinot Noir can be delicious when served a few degrees lower than “celler temperature”. Because of their low tannin content, they don’t see the negative impact that low temperatures can bring to heavier reds such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot and many countries and cultures have a wine drinking tradition based around light, airy, bright and zippy red wines, served nicely chilled.
On a hot summer’s day, along with some charcuterie (maybe even Parma ham and melon balls) or similar, I can think of few things finer than a pleasantly cold (not fridge cold) glass of Pinot Noir.
Try these two from Berry Bros.
2015 Reuilly Rouge, Les Pierres Plates, Denis Jamain 14.95 Berry Bros
2013 Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir Sandford & Benedict, Santa Ynez Valley 44.50 Berry Bros
And if you’re sipping your Pinot in the Caymen Islands 🇰🇾 this summer, tell ’em “the Grape Wizard” sent you because this beauty Furst Spatburgunder , Pinot Noir Kyd 44 is Fab. Jacque Scott
Traditionally, red wines are served between 62-68 oF (15-20oC) and whites between 49-55 F (9-13 C). Try one of the reds at the white wine temperature.
Or try this : Pour a glass of red at room temperature. Chill the rest of the half bottle and try a little. Notice how temperature affects the experience and character of the wine. But as always what you like is more important to me than doing whats right or what’s fashionable.
While some wines, like Lambrusco and Beaujolais, are traditionally consumed chilled, experiment with Merlot, or a young Spanish Rioja or Chilean carmenere
You can’t guarantee fab results but it’s fun trying. There are no rules!
So at your next Summer Soiree try sharing your experience
” Hmmmm I don’t think this Cab Sav is ideally suited to be paired with lobster. “.
” I’d say this Chardonnay has a little too much oak to be paired with a Phaal “
Although these statements sound pretentious, just go with your instincts! One day you’ll get it right!
Now back to chilled reds…..try some of these:
Lambruscos are light-bodied sparkling wines made in NE Italy. Wine results when yeast eats grape juice; if a winemaker stops fermentation before the yeast has passed, there will be sugar left in the wine.
Some Lambruscos are therefore sweet (sugar left in the wine), some are medium-dry (small amount of sugar in the wine) and some are dry (little to no sugar left in the wine itself). You can try all three but for the purposes of this article I would just ask your nearest wine merchant for a dry Lambrusco and serve it chilled
Heres a recommendation for you …
Cavicchioli, Lambrusco di Sorbara, Vigna del Cristo, 2014 £12.29 Tannico
Beaujolais is the wine that comes from the Burgundy region of France. It’s made out of the Gamay grape, which produces some of the lightest-bodied reds out there. There is a relationship between how big a wine’s body is and how long it needs to be aged in bottle before release. It’s Gamay’s petit personality that enables some Beaujolais to be released as quickly as possible after a harvest as “Beaujolais Nouveau.”
Patrick Chodot Brouilly 75cl £9 Tesco by the case
Even try your hand a Beaujolais Nouveau. Louis Jadot Chateau des Jacques Morgon 2009, is complex and fruity, and lovely chilled.
3. Pinot Noir
Though some people first heard about it in the movie “Sideways”, Pinot Noir is one of the world’s most revered wine grapes. It’s the basis of the red wines of Burgundy — one of France’s most iconic regions — and it’s planted lots of other places, including New Zealand, California, and Oregon. It’s lighter bodied and produces famously complex and delicious wines.
2013 BOURGOGNE Pinot Noir Domaine François Raquillet £17.75 Lea & Sandeman
Cristom Vineyards Mt. Jefferson Cuvée Pinot Noir £32.50 Honest Grapes
One of the problems with Pinot Noir wines is they’re labor-intensive to produce and therefore it’s hard to get good ones on the cheap.
4. Barbera d’Asti
Also in NE Italy, the Barbera D’Asti region relies upon the Barbera grape, which is the third-most planted grape in Italy. Barbera D’Asti wines have relatively high acid, aren’t tremendously complicated and aren’t usually aged for a long time, which is all good news for chilled drinking.
Araldica Barbera D’asti Superiore £8.99
Araldica Barbera D’Asti Superiore, Italian, Red Wine £8.99 Waitrose
Barbera d’Asti Superiore Trinchero DOCG Organic £17.90 Vorrei
Zinfandel is arguably the flagship red grape of California — for a long time, in fact, people even thought it was native there. (Since genetic testing came about, it’s been discovered it’s the same as a red grape from Italy called Primitivo.) The biggest bodied of the wines on this list by a long shot, Zinfandels are not often consumed cold, but they can be.
As with the Pinot Noirs, you can break the bank with Zinfandel — but there’s no need to for these purposes. You want something inexpensive, bright, and jammy. Sonoma’s Dry Creek Valley is a great place to source from.
So chill out and try something new!
So for those of you sipping your chilled red in the Caymen Islands or even the rest of us on our sun lounger in the back garden, remember wherever you are, you are in a pretty place indeed. Its summer, sit back, enjoy the sunshine and suck (or sip) the marrow out of life!
Enjoy this moment. It is a moment of reflection and relaxation.
And as such you need some music. So here it is this weeks music pairing
Pair wine with.