Could rosé be passe?
WHAA? Oh yeah, you’re reading that right. We’ve put some frigid air around some red wine bottles.
This is the time of year known as Indian Summer. Indian summer is a period of dry, warm to hot weather that occurs in the Northern Hemisphere. It’s a time for light and white or rosé wines to quaff as we look for relief. Yeah, that’s so not very exciting.
Let’s disrupt that notion right now. Below are a few insider tips and techniques to knowing how to drink chilled red wine and red wines which when chilled, change up their personality and excite.
Sparkling Red Wines
Refresh, revive, renew, re-pour some sparkling red wine. Just about every country takes a turn at creating a sparkling red. Let’s start with the vivacious and most under-appreciated sparklers in red.
Not your cloying, sicky, sweet stuff that you can find on the bottom shelf of your CVS store, I’m talking about the ancient grape of the same name that hails from Italy’s Emilia-Romagna (arguably the most foodie capital of Italy – think Balsamic Vinegar, Parma Prosciutto and Reggiano-Parmigiano).
Two categories of grapes make the best Lambrusco wine. Flavors of fall (including Thanksgiving) pair with the version made from Lambrusco Grasparossa (you’ll see this on the label). This vibrant sparkler with dark berry flavors has enough tannin to give it backbone. A definite winner with al fresco meals and cold meats and salumi. Finishes dry, clean and completely refreshing.
The other grape is Lambrusco di Sorbara – thinner skinned and a lighter version in color and style. It is more floral in aromas and depending on the producer can be colored just a bit darker than a rosé. Pair these wines with the food from the region.
Leave it to the Aussie’s to take a muscular, red grape and figure out how to make it sparkle. In its earliest invention around the 1800’s it was called ‘Sparkling Burgundy’. Then came the sweet stuff. Now the contemporary winemakers are reclaiming its heritage and creating a wonderfully fruit jam-packed wine that finishes dry (although some are fruitier than others).
As Indian Summer extends the hot weather fun, this wine is there to dance with the season.
Non-Sparkling Red Wines
This grape’s birthplace is the Piemonte region of Italy, known for the King and Queen of Italian wines: Barolo and Barbaresco. This child, though, is of different parentage. It’s light in color and body but carries enough tannin to give just the right amount of backbone. You’ll have raspberries and strawberries along with some warm baking spices like cinnamon and clove in the glass. This is the wine that winemakers drink while waiting for their others to age. It’s zippy and bright with acidity and pairs with tomato, olive, lamb, pork and cold meats and cheeses.
A surprisingly good version is made in Napa by Heitz Cellars. Let’s support Napa winemakers!
Beaujolais is a wine region in France, just south of Burgundy. Beaujolais wine is made from the local grape, Gamay Noir. There are several to choose from. Check for labels that say “Cru Beaujolais” from appellations as: Morgon, Fleurie, Brouilly, Chenas. These are the true Gamay grape expressions. Cranberry, red berry is what you’ll find and pairs with turkey, chicken, meaty fish.
More red wines that can take a chill: Pinot Noir, Dolcetto, Nerello Mascalese, Refosco, Cerasuolo de Vittoria.
HOW AND HOW LONG TO CHILL
- Put the unopened bottle into your refrigerator for about 20 minutes. Chilled, red wines are best at about 55 – 60°F.
- Place the bottle into an ice bucket filled with ice and about a quarter of the container with water. This should do the trick within 10 minutes. The chill can go fast so keep checking.
- Purchase a “cooler sleeve”. It’s a good option to use when traveling, at picnics and outdoor meals.
- If you’re in a rush, put the unopened bottle in the freezer for about 8 minutes. Set your mobile’s timer to make sure you don’t freeze or explode the bottle by forgetting it’s there.
- If you don’t mind raised eyebrows, purchase some “cubes” at a wine or gourmet shop that are meant to be frozen and dropped into cold drinks. Risk: could pick up some of the flavors of the plastic or silicon. Steel or granite are recommended if you must.
- Ice cubes themselves? Gah! No. Never. NO.
Revive your palate and enjoy Indian Summer with these red wines that take to a chill. Is rosé passe? Nope, but it’s definitely time to switch it up!
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Courtesy images: Stacie Hunt, Du Vin Wine & Spirits, Food 52, Wines of Italy, Region of Beaujolais