The glorious sunshine and warm weather we had in April – and hopefully can expect in May – often lends itself to drinking more white wine and rosé. However, what if you’re a die-hard red wine drinker and really can’t get into white and rosé? Should you miss out on a nice glass of wine in the sunshine? Absolutely not! You just need to explore some more suitable red wine styles that are perfect for drinking on a warm evening…
Sparkling red wines make a great option for a tipple on a late spring or early summer evening. These are red wines that are made sparkling by the same process as Champagne or as Prosecco (often referred to as ‘traditional method’ and ‘tank method’ respectively). These have all the flavour of a normal red wine but are served chilled and obviously have a fizz to them.
The Australians make some fantastic sparkling Shiraz wines that are absolutely stunning, however they do often come with a bit of a steep price tag; we have a few fantastic Australian options available in the shop if interested.
We do, however, sell a more ‘wallet-friendly’ option to explore. The Montelliana Marzemino Frizzante – Veneto, Italy, NV, 11%, (£11.49) is a great starting point for sparkling red. Made with the light fruit red grape Marzemino, this has dark cherry fruit, hints of soft ripe plum and a little floral note. Served chilled it is superb with some grilled meats from the barbecue or with some cold charcuterie cuts.
If sparkling wines aren’t really your thing, then there are still plenty of red options that work well in the sun. Generally, we are told to serve red wines at room temperature, however there are several styles that you can, and they in fact benefit from being, served ever-so-slightly chilled.
Beaujolais is a lighter style of red made from the Gamay grape in southern Burgundy just north west of Lyon. The best examples come from 10 villages known as the Crus and you might recognize names such as Fleurie, Morgon and Brouilly.
However, a general ‘Beaujolais Villages’ can be a delicious fruity drop at a great price and really suit a slight chill.
Try the Quinson Beaujolais Villages – France, 2018, 13% at just £9.99. It’s a
nice medley of juicy redcurrant and blackcurrant mingled together, served after 20-30 min in the fridge door and it gives it a lovely crunchy, hedgerow fruit character. Absolutely delicious with a spicy, tomato-based curry.
If you fancy trying something a bit more experimental, the Austrian grape Zweigelt is an absolute beauty for warmer weather.
Zweigelt tends to show a bright cherry note with little hints of violets and a distinct dry spicy character. A good example is the superb Pfaffl The Dot – Cherry Zweigelt – Niederosterreich, Austria, 2019, 13% at £11.99, which has been made to show off the dark cherry character that is a signature of the grape.
Again, served with a slight 20-minute fridge chill or a couple of minutes in an ice bucket, this wine is the perfect partner for a peppered tuna steak or maybe some spicy lamb kebabs.
The thing to remember with the serving temperature of red wines is that there are no exact rules you must stick with.
Some people might be horrified at the thought of drinking a chilled red, while for others it might open up a whole new way of enjoying red wine. Basically, everyone has different palates and different tastes, and the only way to find out is to try it!
As a rule, lighter, juicier, fruitier styles with low ‘tannin’ (the grippy or oaky character in wine) will often work much better than heavier, oaky, tannic reds. But, hey, if you like your big Argentinian Malbec ice cold from the fridge, then who am I to tell you not too?
The beauty of wine is everyone’s tastes vary; the important thing is not to be afraid to try something a little different.
So next time the sun’s out, why not try a lighter red just that little bit chilled and see what you think…
The thing to remember with the serving temperature of red wines is that there are no exact rules to stick with
Did you know that white Champagne can be made from red grapes? The three main grapes used to make Champagne are Pinot Noir (black grape), Pinot Meunier (black grape) and Chardonnay (white grape) however you are allowed to use any of seven grape varieties.
The phrase ‘Blanc de Blanc’ on a Champagne bottle translates as ‘white from white’ and means only the white grapes were used (generally the Chardonnay grape) whereas Blanc de Noir means only the red grapes were used to make it.
Blanc de Blancs are generally richer, creamier and softer and Blanc de Noir can be drier, spicier and earthier.