In part four of The UnUsual Suspects, Languedoc-Roussillon wine expert, Decanter World Wine Awards judge and Wright Wine Company wine geek, Gemma Crangle, delves into summer red wines you can chill.
Part four: Summer Reds for chilling..
“You can’t chill a red wine,” I may hear you say. “Au contraire…counter to popular misconception, you can chill red wines of the light, fruit driven, low tannin variety, they’ve been doing it for years throughout the rest of Europe, and with good reason. Isn’t it about time that the UK caught on? It’s refreshing on a hot day, surprisingly so. Why limit ourselves to chilled whites and pale rosés this summer when we can be enjoying the red stuff as well?
There’s very little worse than a red wine served at room temperature, when room temperature with modern day central heating hovers at 20°C or above; the alcohol leaps out of the glass and jammy fruit flavours abound. A cooler serving, however, can elevate the fruit flavours, tighten the overall structure, and heighten the acidity in a wine, giving a fresh, more mouth-watering effect. The result is a tipple with all the expected complexity of a red wine, but with a more refreshing and elegant finish; it’s a great way to get your red wine fix even when the sun’s shining.
We do, however, need to be aware of which types of red can benefit from chilling. Steer clear of the big, bold, full bodied, highly oaked and high tannin varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon and Barolo but instead aim for young, lighter bodied, fruit driven styles with low tannin and light or no oak. Think Pinot Noir, Gamay, Dolcetto, Barbera, Cabernet Franc, Blaufränkisch; and be careful not to over chill, somewhere between 12 ° and 16° is perfect, depending on the weight and body of the wine.
We’ve put together a list of recommendations of some perfectly chillable red wines on our shop shelf. Give it a try if you haven’t already, we defy you not to be converted.
Régnié, Domaine Dominique Jambon, Beaujolais, France, 2017 12.5% – £11.00
A soft, silky Beaujolais with structure but low tannins.100% Gamay
Saumur Champigny, Tuffe, Château du Hureau, Loire Valley, France ORGANIC 2016 13.0% – £14.75
Red fruit character on the nose, followed by stewed plums and plenty of ripe, well-structured tannins. 100% Cabernet Franc.
Poulsard, “Love Poulsard” (no added Sulpher), Fruitière Vinicole d’Arbois, Jura, France, 2017 13.0% – £22.50
Fresh, vibrant red fruit with subtle nuances. 100% Poulsard.
Velvet, Gols-Burgenland, ORGANIC Gerhard Pittnauer, Austria, NV, 13.0% – £13.50
Soft and spicy with those trademark ‘velvety’ tannins. Zweigelt and Blaufränkisch grapes.
Dolcetto d’Alba, Piedmont Roagna, Italy, 2016/17 13.0% – £17.60
Fresh, silky and supple with aromatic and expressive red fruit. An underrated grape from Piedmont.
Tyrannosaurus Red, Furleigh Estate, Dorset, England, 2014 12.0% – £10.00
An elegant, light red wine with abundant fruit appeal, fine-grained tannins and juicy acidity which gives uplifting freshness alongside savoury notes and subtle smokiness from the oak. It is vibrant and well balanced with exceptional length. 82% Pinot Noir, 18% Rondo
Pinot Noir, Calusari, Romania, 2018 12.5% – £8.00
A medium bodied red with an aromatic nose and juicy plum and red cherry fruits on the palate, leading to a velvety and elegant finish.