With summer approaching in Australia, a glass of chilled red wine is worth thinking about as temperatures begin to warm.
White wines are almost always sipped on chilled, but only certain kinds of reds fair well in cooler temperatures.
James Tidwell, Master Sommelier at the Four Seasons Resort in Dallas, Texas, shared with us some of the best types of red wine that taste great chilled.
“I would say the wines to look at in general are typically wines that have more acidity to them and wines that don’t have a lot of oak influence on them,” said Tidwell.
Although these qualities are the defining characteristics of a chillable red wine, the description might be hard to decipher. Here are the five types Tidwell recommends.
Pinot noir is one of those red wines you'd never think to drink chilled, but Tidwell proves otherwise.
'Pick the lighter or more fruit-forward ones, because they will be enhanced by chilling,' said Tidwell. 'They are typically lighter than cabernet (sauvignon) or merlot, but it still has some soul.'
This ancestor of cabernet sauvignon does well in colder temperatures because it intrinsically is less oaked than other types of red wines.
According to the sommelier, the location of this type of wine is an important characteristic to consider. 'The ones from the Noir valley are often labelled cabernet franc,' said Tidwell. 'But the ones from Bordeaux is a blend so there is a bigger, more oaked wine that is typically not conducive to chilling.'
Tidwell said one of the best wines to chill is Lambrusco, since the red wine's refreshing quality is further enhanced by chilling.
While there are many varieties of Lambrusco, from dry to sweet, and still to slightly bubbly, Tidwell says you can chill pretty much any variation.
'It goes really well with salumi, or a ham and cheese plate,' Tidwell added. 'The crispness (of the wine) cleanses your palate.'
'Almost any beaujolais or gamay wine would be wine that would be made to certainly handle a little chilling,' said Tidwell
Beaujolais is made from a special grape called gamay. The wine is great for chilling because it does not have any oak barrel treatment and light in taste.
Almost on the opposite side of the spectrum of Lambrusco is Brachetto d'Acqui. Tidwell describes it as the red version of Moscato, a sweet white wine that is chilled.
'It's a red, fruity, slightly sweet and bubbly wine,' said Tidwell. 'It's almost like a refreshing cocktail in itself. It's not high in alcohol (around 7% or less) and perfect for 107 degree heat by the pool in August.'
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