La Vie en Rouge: swap rosé for red this summer
While it is natural to conjure up images of frosted glasses of Provencal rosé when we think of summer wines, red grape varieties have so much more to offer than pale pink when temperatures soar. Red wine, despite its full-bodied and rich reputation, has the versatility and style to impress all year round.
Research has shown that 50% of red wine drinkers only drink red wine – they don’t switch over to white or rosé when temperatures rise, rather they switch drinks categories altogether. Considering that red wine drinkers tend to stay longer and spend more when visiting bars, it is incredibly lucrative to offer red wine fans options that they can enjoy in hot weather.
As for what to offer, the obvious choice would be to serve light-bodied reds, slightly chilled. Light, fresh reds such as Beaujolais and Valpolicella are well suited to being served cold and are the perfect choice for the red wine lover who wants to avoid anything too heavy in the heat.
However, summer reds aren’t just limited to chill-able varieties. Light to medium bodied red wines can pair very well with typical summer foods, such as barbequed meats and tapas. Fruit-forward red wines, such as Chianti or Dolcetto, are great for pairing with grilled dishes and won’t feel overpowering in the heat. Southern Italian reds are another option – the South of Italy knows hot weather and it knows great red wine. Varieties such as Nerello Mascalese and Negroamaro will pair perfectly with rich pasta dishes and cicchetti.
From chilled to charred
Lucien Lardy Fleurie Les Moriers
This Beaujolais is made from 1er Cru classified vines planted in 1911. Wet soil and soy sauce blends with the red fruit flavours on the nose. The aromas are very concentrated, but structurally the wine is light and fresh.
La Dama Valpolicella Classico
With vineyards situated in the best commune of Valpolicella, they make beautifully-modern and pure styles of Valpolicella Classico and Amarone Classico. A fresh, floral red wine with unaggressive tannins. Serve slightly chilled for an easy-drinking red
Peth Wetz Estate Spatburgunder
Weingut Peth-Wetz epitomises the new face of German wine, with their 30ha of vines located between Worms and Alzey in Germany’s Rheinhessen. This Pinot Noir has intense aromas of red cherry, raspberry, wild strawberry and spice. The palate is smooth with notes of liquorice, pomegranate and toast.
Garage Wine Co. Pais
Light and pretty, Pais is in the midst of a revival in Chile that is spearheaded by producers like Garage. Serve this fresh Chilean red wine slightly cooler to bring out the delicious fruity and earthy notes.
Vietti Dolcetto d’Alba
Legendary Piedmont producer, this Dolcetto d’Alba has aromas of black cherry, raspberry and hints of blueberries and minerals. An unoaked wine, this medium-bodied red has soft tannins, moderate acidity and good balance.
Castello di Ama Chianti Classico
A top Tuscan producer, this Chianti Classico has aromas of fresh red fruits such as cherry and raspberry. It’s super elegant on the palate, with well-balanced spicy notes .
Li Veli Passamante Salice Salentino
This is a big wine from Italy’s Puglia: intense on the nose with marked aromas of ripe and fleshy red fruits, followed by spicy notes of cinnamon and nutmeg. On the palate it is full-bodied and smooth, with a long finish.
Chateau La Coste Premiere Cuvee Rouge
From organic Provence producer La Coste, this is a nice alternative to the region’s classic pink wines. Supple and round on the palate, red fruits dominate with delicate spices and subtle woody undercurrents.