Ditch the rosé and opt for a glass of chilled vin rouge instead this summer.
By the end of last summer, many of us were suffering from rosé fatigue and couldn’t stand another glass, whether it was flat, sparkling, or frosé.
That doesn't mean however that this summer your only option is back to your favourite white. Contrary to snobby old-school wine rules, not only can you drink red wine any time of the year you wish—you can also chill red wine. And it can even improve the flavour of your drink.
Chilling the wine makes it a little more refreshing and crisp, perfect for a hot day, when a red at room temperature will tend to feel more alcoholic and less satisfying.
Another reason to drink chilled red wine in summer: It pairs perfectly with backyard barbeques and party food. Lighter-bodied reds such as Pinot Noir bring out the great flavours of grilled meat, preferably cuts with higher fat content.
But don't go all-out and start storing every bottle of Merlot, Tempranillo, and Cabernet in the freezer with your vodka. For best results (read: tasty, full-flavour wine that keeps you coming back for another sip), try following this helpful advice.
1. Choose the right red.
Not all varietals are ideal for chilling. Putting a bold Cabernet Sauvignon or Malbec in the fridge will cause their tannins to tighten, leading to a very bitter wine. Instead, try fruit-forward reds like Pinot Noir, Gamay (often sold here as Beaujolais), or Grenache. Younger wines are also better than older ones, because younger wines have a riper fruit flavour.
2. Don't go too cold.
There's always been a misconception that red wines should be served at room temperature, which could be as high as 25°C or more on a hot summers day, while at the same time, having a red wine too cold robs much of its flavour. So how cold is too cold? The sweet spot for vin rouge, depending on the exact varietal is between 14°C to 18°C. At this temperature, the palate is a little livelier without the loss of aromas or flavour.
3. Time it right.
To reach that sweet spot, try chilling a red in the refrigerator for 20 minutes before serving. That way it cools but doesn't get too cold. And if you picked up a bottle on the way to a party, don't try to speed up the cool-down process by tossing it in the freezer when you arrive. You run the chance of over-chilling the wine, leading to loss of the wine's aroma. Instead, place it in a bucket of ice for four to five minutes when you arrive at your friend's place. That's long enough to lower room-temp wine to nicely chilled. Ideally, you could invest in a good quality wine fridge and keep your favourite reds, and whites for that matter, at their ideal serving temperature all year round.
4. Keep it fresh.
If you don't polish off the bottle, reseal it a quickly as possible to slow down oxidisation and put the bottle in a cool place or in your refrigerator door. If this a common occurrence., maybe it time to buy a wine preservation system like the Coravin and enjoy what you want, when you want, without worrying about finishing your bottles.
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