Chill the rouge!
Tis the season to chill red wines, and what better time to reacquaint oneself with some pure juice that’s crying out to be chilled. Cool, calm and collected a suitably chilled red, served on a summer's day as an aperitif, with grilled meats, or charcuterie, can be one of life’s great pleasures.
That said, chilled reds are not just for summer. In summer, most reds should either spend an hour cooling their heels in the fridge, or be granted a swift bath in an ice bucket. This helps to damp down the alcohol, freshen the acidity and focus the fruit flavours. Certain wines, however, should always be served frais regardless of the season.
Those most suited for a brief bout in the fridge are thinner skinned grapes, with lighter glou glou examples of Pinot, Cab Franc and Gamay being sure-fire successes. Anything which has undergone (fairly) heavy extraction with an engrained tannic structure is a no-no.
Here are ten of the juiciest worth considering…
Chilling On The Continent
2017 Le Clocher Pineau d`Aunis, Loire, France
A serious Pineau d'Aunis from organically grown 50-year-old vines. Dark berry fruit, a waft of red and white pepper, and a slightly tart finish. Structure and frivolity in equal measure make this low ABV vin worth a go in the chiller!
2018 Domaine Les Terres Promises L’Antidote Rouge, Provence, France
We are no strangers to seeing Provençal rosé having a chill, so why not try its rouged neighbour after a dip in the ice bucket?! Here the fruit is strong and delightfully purple hued. The ripeness of the Med meets altitude, organic farming and semi-carbonic vinification. Keep calm (and cool) and Carignan!
2015 Chene Boit Sans Soif, Loire, France
Legally not even wine because it falls beneath the abv threshold (coming in at 8%). This means that you can drain a bucket load of this fuzzy-hued Grolleau. As natural as the day is long, pinkish-red colour, aromas of cider apple and a yeasty quality on the finish. Bang the bangers on the barbie and guzzle with alacrity.
2018 St Nicolas de Bourgueil Hurluberlu, Loire, France
Cabernet Franc carbonic style presented in a clear bottle. Bursting with gobs of youthful purple stemmy fruit, a whiff of pepper and herbs a-plenty. Totally unfiltered – as if Ribena had grown up and joined the French foreign legion.
2018 San Ferdinando Ciliegiolo, Tuscany, Italy
It’s in the name, right, chill-iegiolo! This is a Tuscan fruit bomb. Sour cherries, raspberries and subtle wild herbs are echoed both on nose and palate. Refreshing thirst quenching acidity and super-soft tannins ensure pure, juicy fruit is the order of the day here.
2017 Andert Zweigelt Tausend ML 1L, Burgenland, Austria
Why have a litre of milk in your fridge when you can have a litre of wine? 100% Zweigelt from Andert Wein, Burgenland. Pale bright incredibly fresh and drinkable, bracing acidity, with sour red cherry and cranberry on the palate. At 9.5% this is a tausend ml of sheer glou glou, a thriller for the chiller.
2016 Zidarich Teran Rosso, Friuli, Italy
Truly paregoric potation, fabulously digestible as if iron-filings had been distilled into the wine and made into a blood-enriching medicine. At 12% it is as bracingly refreshing as a white wine. The fruit almost chews itself in your mouth, the acidity encourages a good roll-around and a ripe tartness engages and sooths the tongue simultaneously. Red fruits? You bet your sweet bippy. Fragolino, cherries, sloes, bitter raspberries gush effortlessly across the palate. The tannins are so fine they barely seem to exist.
A Cold New World
2018 Sac À Main Balinais Pinot Noir, Yarra Valley, Australia
A serious good-time Pinot. Positively bursting with primal red fruits. They say if it grows together it goes together, and while we try to steer clear (oops) from old adages and cliché, this primeur-stylee Ozzy Pinot has got to be high up in the pantheon of seminal BBQ gluggers!
2017 Radford Dale Thirst Cinsault, Stellenbosch, South Africa
From bush vines by the Moddergat River this naturally fermented Cinsault has cranberry, crunchy dark cherry character and grippy tannins. Fantastic with charcuterie or cheese, but at only 10% ABV this refreshing refrigerator has aperitif written all over it!
2018 El Abasto Malbec Bonarda, Mendoza, Argentina
Tempranillo from Spain; Sangiovese, Barbera and Bonarda from Italy; Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon from South West France; Syrah from the Rhône, Argentina is a rich tapestry of borrowed varietals. Here the Malbec-Bonarda blend makes for a brilliant partnership, with lifted aromatics and stemmy freshness, the Malbec lending structure and the Bornarda whimsy. N.B. this wine also offers some serious bang for buck and was even voted the best value chillable red by The Independent.
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