When you think of a bottle of red wine you often think of Christmas or wintertime. Great with cooked meats and comfort food it is often not seen as a wine for the summer.
However when you think about the places that produce red wines they are mainly places which have a lot of sunshine over the summer months. The people who live in these regions drink red wine all year round – so perhaps it is time to look at red wine through different eyes and think about how it can work as a summer drink.
The most obvious place for red wine is the barbecue. A proliferation of grilled meats make red wine the obvious choice when choosing you barbecue drinks. Just one thing to remember – if you are choosing highly flavoured and marinated meats than you need to ensure that the wine you are putting with you food is also strong flavoured. Look for wines produced by nations who know how to barbecue and eat a lot of highly flavoured meat. Australian Shiraz, Chilean cabernet Sauvignon or Argentinean wines will all work well.
But also red wine can be chilled. Yes you can break the tradition of having red wine at room temperature and chill it before it is drunk. This works best with lighter red wines – a merlot will never be good chilled because its rich flavour needs to be a bit warmed up to taste it at its best. However there are wines that taste great chilled and this article will try and give you a few ideas as to which ones taste better for it.
One thing to note is that as you chill red wine, especially those that have aged in wood, it loses its fruity taste and the tannins get stronger, so it is best to look for wines with little or no wood aging.
In addition, they should be as young as possible and low in alcohol. The best ones to chill need to be less than twelve percent. Which means that you will have to search around a bit to find them. In general the wines that come from slightly cooler climates tend to be better chilled. Look for grape varieties such as Pinot Noir, Grenache and Beaujolais. Beaujolais is an ideal variety for chilling – it is usually served a little cool so why not go that bit further and leave it a good while in the fridge.
So why not surprise you friends this summer and serve a barbecue with a glass of cold red wine – you never know you could start a trend.
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Fiona Muller has been writing for over 20 years. She is a qualified journalist and has worked in food and drink writing for the last few years. For a great range of red wines go to laithwaites.co.uk
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