I spent much of the bank holiday weekend standing round a barbecue as the temperature – most unusually for a bank holiday – continued to rise to record highs.
Well-chilled whites and rosés are perfect for summer drinking but they don’t always work so well with what’s on the barbecue.
So how about chilling red wines?
I’ve always thought we tend to serve our red wines too warm in this country, but there are also certain red grapes and styles that do lend themselves very well to being slightly chilled.
Lighter styles of pinot noir, beaujolais, red wines from the Loire Valley and some Italian red varieties such as dolcetto can all benefit from being chilled – think fruity red wines with low tannins and little or no oak ageing.
In terms of how far to chill these wines, 30 minutes in the fridge is a useful rule of thumb and you certainly don’t want to go too far.
If you start dropping below about 12C then you start to mute the aromas and the flavours.
Not only does Red Snapper Cinsault 2017, Stellenbosch (Sainsburys £7) have a great label, but cinsault is currently one of the hottest grape tickets in South Africa, so at this price this is a great wine to see what all the fuss is about.
It’s quite light in colour with notes of summer red fruits including redcurrants and cranberries on the nose, followed by more red fruits and a touch of savouriness on the palate with crunchy, bright acidity and a lively fresh finish.
This would work well with some simple cooked fish such as seared tuna.
Gamay is perhaps the red grape that is most thought of as suitable for chilling, and Beaujolais 2018, Organic, Domaine de la Couvette (Hermitage Cellars £12.65) is a lovely example with the added advantage of being organic.
Gautier Marion is the fifth generation of the family to produce wine on this property, which is situated in the southern part of the Beaujolais region.
Made from 100 per cent hand-harvested gamay, it sees no oak at all. The bouquet offers ripe red berry fruits and a little spice, the palate is very smooth with more red fruits, silky tannins and crisp acidity and a surprisingly long finish.
Try this with a plate of charcuterie or pate, or a whole flattened chicken on the barbecue.
Robert Oatley Grenache Signature Series G-18 2018, McLaren Vale (oldbridgewine.co.uk £11.95, cambridgewine.com £13.99) may not seem the obvious wine to chill but this works brilliantly. It is a very modern take on Aussie grenache, made without the use of any oak, focussing on the fruit.
This is really perfumed with raspberry and bramble fruits alongside a little spice on the nose.
The palate shows great purity with more raspberry fruit, some earthiness and a very long, satisfying finish. Serve this lightly chilled with quality barbecued sausages or beef burgers – delicious.