It’s hitting temperatures of nearly 30 degrees centigrade in Edinburgh today, temperatures that we haven’t experienced for quite a few years!
Mostly we’ll be looking for a more refreshing beverage, lighter white wines, crunchy roses, zesty cocktails or possibly a dry, tangy Fino Sherry. Reds struggle a little bit when it’s hot. Reds have less acidity then whites so lack that refreshing characteristic and if served too warm, can become “soupy”. In the heat the wine’s texture thickens, losing any freshness that it might have had and can taste flat or stale. To avoid this keep your wines in a cool space, avoid direct sunshine and you could even pop them briefly into the fridge or an ice bucket, or add an ice cube or two. Maybe not if you’re opening full bodied, highly tannic wines, like Bordeaux or Petrus or Aussie Shiraz, but for lighter fruitier, less tannic wines this a great way to enjoy them in the warmer summer months. Don’t leave them too long in the fridge/ice bucket though, the perception of tannins can increase in chilled reds. The best reds to chill are those that are typically fruity with lowish levels of oak and alcohol eg Beaujolais-Villages, Valpolicella, Grenache and Saumur-Champigny (pictured) or any oak or tannin bitterness will overpower the fresh fruit.
Chilling red is common place in Spain and Australia during the heat of the summer, with the Spanish often adding Coke and ice to make sure it really does give them the refresh they need.
If you’re drinking out don’t be afraid to ask your bartender/sommelier to chill your red slightly, if they know they’re stuff, they’ll have already popped it in the fridge for you.