The British summertime might have difficulty making up its mind at times but at Friarwood we’ve already got a fantastic selection of seasonal styles just waiting for you. Don’t just think crisp whites and juicy rosés this time of the year though - not only do some of the richer reds work wonders with those smoky, grilled barbecue flavours but there are also plenty of red wines that you can enjoy lightly chilled. The thing to remember when filling the ice bucket is that chilling will suppress sweet notes in a wine and emphasise tannin and oak so look for wines with lots of bright juicy fruit and low tannins and oak (a paler coloured red can be an indication). Even some of the full-bodied reds like to be a few degrees cooler because it will bring fruit flavours into focus and produce a more refreshing style; too warm and reds can have a soupy, flabby mouthfeel which is far from pleasant on a hot summers day.
Some grape varieties certainly suit being served cooler more than others and here are just a few of the best suggestions:
- Beaujolais – the Gamay grape is arguably the red grape for summertime drinking
- Pinot Noir – especially the lighter styles from Burgundy
- Cabernet Franc from the Loire Valley
- A trio from Italy – Dolcetto, Frappato & Valpolicella Classico (comprising the Corvina, Rondinella & Molinara varieties)
- Mencia - once overlooked this Spanish grape is becoming seriously fashionable
Now let’s turn to the chilling process. Depending on the variety you should aim to serve at between 10–16 degrees C, which requires 20-30 minutes in the fridge before serving (if it’s warm). An ice and water mix is very effective at bringing down the temperature rapidly – 10-15 minutes would be fine – but be careful if using the freezer for a rapid chill. Not only are gentler methods best for the wine itself but you run the risk of freezing the wine entirely!
So, you’re all set to leap into the world of chilled reds – here are a few picks from our range to get you started. Given that the fresher flavours of these styles are also a wonderful match for lighter summer dishes, we’ve added a few delicious food pairing suggestions.
- Devillard ‘Le Renard’ Pinot Noir Bourgogne – a fruity, fresh wine that is light, bright and easy-drinking. Perfect with a creamy goats cheese and baby beet salad.
- Reva Dolcetto d’Alba – Singing with red cherry, pepper and a hint of lavender this is a soft and drinkable Italian with a refreshing finish. Great with charcuterie of all descriptions (fennel salami would be perfect).
- Kelman Dao Tinto – Featuring a good splash of Mencia in the mix this bright and intense wine hits you with notes of blackberry and violets. Would make a lovely partner to a grilled lamb salad with pea, mint and feta.
- Bel Air, Morgon Le Pey– this elegant little wine (literally – available in 37.5 cl bottles) is brimming with cherry, strawberry and redcurrant. Enjoy with a simple frisée and lardon salad or perhaps some cold cured ham.
So if you’re looking for something more substantial than white or rosé this summer sidestep the classic clarets and explore our lighter side.