If you’re sick of sipping rosé this summer, listen up. Chilled red wine is touted to be the next big thing and as the UK braces itself for yet another bout of hot weather, we’re 100% getting behind it.
While a chilled red might sound like sacrilege, there are actually types of red wine which benefit from being cooled - and the great thing about them is they’re good to go straight from the fridge. No aerating or decanting needed.
Lidl’s Master of Wine, Richard Bampfield, explains: “Not just any red qualifies for chilling. Leave blockbuster Cabernets in the wine rack until autumn. What you want are light, fruity examples with lower alcohol and softer tannins. Time in the fridge will increase the freshness, so the wines taste juicier and even more appetising.”
He recommends Vin Art Villányi Portugieser (£6.99) which is best enjoyed after being chilled in the fridge for 30 minutes - and, let’s face it, is an absolute bargain.
If you’re after something a bit fancy, Brown Brothers’ Cienna 2016 (£60 for a case of six) is the top pick for Nik Koster, director at drinks-only agency Garnish and judge for the International Wine Challenge. He describes it as summer berry compote in a glass, adding: “Brown Brothers produce a variety of innovative wines, a number of which are perfectly served chilled.”
Koster says Rioja Crianza tastes great chilled and recommends bottles that have been aged for two years (one in oak, one in the bottle). Bodegas Navajas Rioja Crianza 2013 (£9.95) is his Rioja of choice, which has “big, bold cherry notes” and is perfect with pasta.
Another safe bet for chilled reds is Pinot Noir, according to Koster, especially from New Zealand. “Craft 3’s Pinot Noir (£78 for a case of six) is a juicy number with a subtle spicy finish and it’s a great price from M&S,” he says. Katie Smith, wine development specialist at Matthew Clark alcohol suppliers, recommends Beaujolais Villages (£11.99), which she describes as a great value alternative to Burgundy Pinot Noir. “It’s light and fresh and low in tannins so perfect chilled down,” she says. “It can go with quite spicy flavours too.”
If you’re after a sparkling red, she recommends Sparkling Red Lambrusco from M&S (£54 for a case of six). “Forget what you think you know about Lambrusco. This is proper stuff and great with pasta, charcuterie and cheese,” she says. Koster recommends Tesco Finest Lambrusco Doc Frizzante (£7), which he describes as the perfect all-day wine.
For those with a sweet tooth, Bodegas Castaño Hecula Monastrell (£9.99) might be up your street. The sweet and ripe red fruit flavours “shine” when the wine is slightly chilled, says Koster, and it’s perfect for BBQs. Smith recommends Frappato from Sicily (£5.48) which is light-bodied with fresh strawberry aromas and tastes great when lightly chilled.
So how should you chill your bottle of red?
Put it in the fridge for 25 minutes before serving, Bampfield recommends, or plunge into an ice bucket filled with a mix of ice and water for 8-10 minutes.
For faster results, just throw in an ice cube. Although if you opt for more than one cube, make sure you take them out before they start diluting the wine. You might also want to chill the glasses, if you’re feeling fancy.
Mix things up with tinto de verano
For those who don’t like red wine, a nice way to ease yourself in is with a popular Spanish drink called tinto de verano, which is also super easy to make. It’s essentially one part red wine mixed with one part lemonade (or lemon-lime soda). Add some ice cubes and lemon slices, or even orange segments, and you’re good to go.