Did you know you can drink red wine chilled?
PUBLISHED: 19:35 11 June 2018
Jeremy Dunn, chief wine tutor at Norfolk Wine School, explains which wines work well chilled, and shares his favourite red wines for summer.
If you are visiting the Mediterranean this summer and ask for a glass of the local red, chances are you will be served red wine in a tumbler, straight from the fridge. Forget the traditional advice that red wines should only be served at room temperature. There are lots of red wines that taste great when served lightly chilled. Don’t over-chill, half an hour in the fridge is about right for most red wines.
Light, fresh and fruity red wines generally respond best to cooling. When you chill a red wine it sharpens the fruit flavours and has the effect of making the alcohol seem subdued. Just be careful with more structured red wines that have more tannin (that’s the element in red wine that makes your mouth go all furry). Chilling accentuates tannin which can make red wines high in tannin taste bitter and unpleasant. There are lots of light, fresh and fruity wines that are lower in tannin. Examples include bottles from the Beaujolais region in France and some wines made from the red grape Pinot Noir.
Wines from Beaujolais are made with the Gamay grape which is naturally low in tannin so any Beaujolais will work well chilled. From the ranges available in the supermarkets my current favourite is the very gluggable and reliable Waitrose Beaujolais Villages 2015. It’s packed with fresh strawberry and raspberry fruit which tastes great when served slightly chilled, and is great value at just £7.99.
Another red wine that tastes great chilled is made by Australia’s Brown Brothers whose Tarrango (the name of the grape) 2017, from Victoria is a very light, pale red wine packing a surprisingly fruity punch with flavours of cherry and plum and a slight savoury, spicy edge. Drop your bottles in the ice bucket and serve with king prawns in their shell pulled straight off the barbie. At Sainsbury’s, priced at £8.50, the Taste the Difference Barbera d’Asti, 2016 from Piedmont in north west Italy is worth looking out for. It’s a simple, bright and fresh red wine with spiky acidity and deliciously ripe morello cherry fruit. Lightly chilled this is a match made in heaven with slices of duck breast served on a bed of salad leaves and some rustic crusty bread.
Local specialist Adnams has a couple of red wines that are delicious chilled. Paparuda Pinot Noir 2017, Cramele Recas, is a clean and simple Pinot Noir from Romania with juicy red fruit flavours that spring to life when chilled. This is a real crowd pleaser and will go down well at any summer garden party. It’s also very keenly priced at just £5.99. Adnams also stocks Frappato 2016, Santa Tresa, from Sicily, £8.99. Frappato is a native Sicilian grape variety that has low levels of tannin and is known for its vibrant plum colour and light-bodied, fruit-forward style. It’s absolutely delicious. Try a glass with a summer berry pudding.
Finally, if it’s a bit of fizz you are after, then drop into your local M&S store and pick up a bottle of their Italian red Lambrusco from Reggiano, £9. It’s packed with sweet blueberry fruit flavours but retains a little freshness and bite. You don’t want to chill this too much (20 to 30 minutes in the fridge is about right) but when gently chilled this wine is transformed into a very versatile food-friendly wine that’s deliciously refreshing due to its fresh, fruity palate and bubbly texture. Enjoy!
A Norfolk Wine School tasting makes a great Father’s Day gift. Every tasting can be purchased as a gift voucher. Take a look at the wide range of tastings to choose from www.norfolkwineschool.com.