Drinking red wine in the summer? Yay or nay?
Summer is in full swing and therefore many wine drinkers have swapped their reds for rosés.
Usually, we associate red wines with the colder months of the year, however, if you’re a red lover and don’t want to put the bottle down, good news, some of them can still be enjoyed in the sun. Yes the more full-bodied, high tannin, high alcohol reds like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Shiraz should be stored away for the long, dark wintery nights by the fire, but we shouldn’t forget about all reds as there are so many that can be sipped perfectly alfresco style!
Can you chill red wine?
With any glass of wine (regardless of the colour) you want it to be enjoyed from first sip to last, so ensuring the serving temperature is correct makes all the difference! Which are the best red wines to have chilled? Well chilling full-bodied, high tannin, high-alcohol reds like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot will make them taste astringent and metallic; and savoury wines like Shiraz (Syrah) that have lots of earthy, leathery or spicy flavours will not drink well when chilled.
The best red wines to chill are naturally light in body, low in tannins (the compound found in the skin, seeds and stems of grapes that can make your mouth feel dry and bitter), and are fruity. Chilling these reds bring out their wow factor and diminish the perception of alcohol.
Quick tips for chilling red wines:
- Place the bottle in an ice bucket filled 50% water and 50% ice for about 15-20 minutes but regularly take sips to make sure you don’t overchill it
- A plastic or metal vinicool is another option to keep it cool once you take the wine out of the fridge.
- If your red wine has been stored at slightly higher temperatures (16-20 degrees celsius), pop it in the fridge for 25-30 minutes – don’t forget to take it out!
Below are our top five red wines we recommend that can be chilled and relished in the sun or enjoyed alongside a scrumptious dish…
We apologise in advance if the below make your mouth water or your belly rumble!
This Pinot Noir is from somewhere slightly different – Romania! It’s a great example of this grape variety showcasing gorgeous flavours of black cherry, raspberry and cinnamon. Rich fruit cake spice on the palate is apparent and has a velvety lingering finish. It is generally hard to find an entry level style that tastes this good! As Pinot Noir is relatively light yet aromatic, you need to pair it with a lighter style dish…the Cosmina goes perfectly with a duck breast salad, served with orange halves, radishes and crushed pistachios. The sweetness of the orange segments help to evolve the bright fruit characters of the wine. This is one of our own-label wines so you will not see this label anywhere else!
Spanish red wine is always a favourite! The Tempranillo grape practically grows in every region of Spain and the style of wine can vary greatly. Rioja wine is primarily made from Tempranillo but can sometimes be blended with Grenache which is also another grape variety that can be served chilled.
Can you chill aged Rioja?
When it comes to Rioja, you do need to consider various aspects before chilling the wine:
- Is it a Joven, Crianza, Reserva or Gran Reserva?
- How long has it been ageing in the barrel?
Typically, Joven & Crianza Riojas haven’t aged in barrels for as long as Reserva & Gran Reserva so you’ll still get lots of fruity flavours! If the ageing process for the wine is longer than 2 years (in barrel and then in bottle), the oak and tannin will start to overpower any other aromas giving the astringent and metallic taste as discussed before. Stick to a Joven or Crianza Rioja if you’re wanting a chilled Rioja. We highly recommend the Cormoran Tempranillo, it pairs well with none other than one of Spain’s signatures dish(es)…tapas!
Another light-bodied red wine that can be chilled is a Fleurie which is made from the Gamay grape that is grown in Beaujolais, France. Fun fact: Beaujolais produces 75% of the world’s Gamay wine! These wines are a firm favourite for their delicate floral aromas, subtle earthy notes and their surprising versatility when pairing with food! The Cave de Fleurie arrays in a deep garnet hue flecked with purple, offering up a powerful black fruit bouquet whilst notes of slightly tart blackberries give this wine a nice balance. Due to the high natural acidity and low tannin in this wine, it makes it extremely hard to go wrong when pairing with Gamay. Try it with a honey glazed garlic pork salad for something a little different.
This is a hidden Italian treasure which is a good alternative to Beaujolais. Just because this is the ‘simple’ Valpolicella, it doesn’t mean the wine itself is simple. Due to the fact it doesn’t make any contact with oak and is fermented in stainless steels vats, you will be able to experience the fresh flavours and aromas of red fruits such as cherries and wild berries alongside a hint of almond. By law, Valpolicella wines must be made using 45-95% Corvina grapes. Our Valpolicella Classico is made from 70% Corvina, 20% Rondinella and 10% Molinara and is a great example of a lighter style red. When it comes to pairing this wine with food, what grows together goes together…being an Italian red you’d partner this with none other than the traditional tomato based dish – Spaghetti Bolognese, Buon Appetito!