Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Surprise: you can even drink red wine in Summertime!!

Maybe you are not a white wine drinker. And even if you are certainly missing the chance to taste amazing wines, there is nothing wrong with it. But in summertime when magazine's columns are all about "refreshing, crisp and cool" white wines, I am sure that your only desire is to find the right red to drink in a park under the sun!
You will then probably be surprised to know that there is plenty of choice to relive your thirst! Possibly you don't even know that most of these wines can be even slightly chilled. And no sommelier or wine expert would be shocked about that (and if they are...well then don't trust them!!).
If your first thought of good red wines for the summer days is Beaujolais,well, you are not wrong but I can tell you there is much more than that out of there! Keeping your choice in France but moving Western in Loire Valley you can enjoy the refreshing, crisp, light to medium bodied Saint-Nicolas de Bourgueil, Chinon and Saumur Champigny all made mainly from Cabernet Franc and all characterized by fruity aromas and good acidity. Particular scents of lead pencil (graphite) can be smelled in the first two. It is a must for people from Loire valley to serve these wines chilled in summer.
Leaving France for Italy, you can taste different things from various Northern regions. In Piedmont you can choose between a crisp and dry Barbera and a more tannic and less acidic Dolcetto. Both can be easy drinking wines especially in their youth. Dolcetto is full of ripe berries such as black cherry but can show liquorice aromas sometimes, while Barbera is definitely more about red fruit and plums. Moving further in Trentino Alto Adige there is a cheerful, unpretentious local wine called Marzemino that is extremely enjoyable. It is light, fruity with hints of violet and has a light body. Again I would chill a bit before drinking it! Same region but different wine: Lagrein. In this case you could actually choose to go lighter in colour and taste the great pink version. But if you'll go red then you will find forest fruits and vegetal flavours, a medium body and a fine bitter twist.
And there would be much more to list...Grignolino, Bardolino, Freisa....but I cannot list only Italian wines, so let's move to Bierzo. Mencia is the grape used in red wine production in this region of North -Western Spain, and can give very different wines depending on the producer and the style they choose. Most of them are subtle and original with an interesting complexity, a refreshing acidity and medium intensity of dark berries.
Last but not least...an unusual Austrian wine: St Laurent.The grape is originally from Alsace and probably related to Pinot Noir and very similar to this even if  more robust. It is characterized by a lively acidity and red fruit aromas especially fresh sour-cherry. It is a very elegant wine and can age well if produced in low yields.
And now finally, just to be sure that you will enjoy your wines at their best, please make sure you keep them in fridge for not more than half an hour....we don't want to loose their perfumes.
Cheers!