Monday, September 15, 2008

Joanna Simon in The Sunday Times, August 10, 2008: Cool Reds

If you are drinking red wine today, you should probably put it in the fridge for at least 45 minutes first - not because we are in the middle of summer but because most red wines are drunk too warm all year. The old rule that red wines should be served at room temperature is one of the most treacherous pieces of wine lore, unless you happen to like your rooms at a penitential 16-18 C. A few big, young, tannic reds, especially those designed to be aged, may taste rounder and more supple at 18-20C, but the vast majority begin to lose their freshness and clarity of flavour at these temperatures. They will still be drinkable, but not as good as they could be or as the producer intended.

Beaujolais has always been appreciated lightly chilled, but most new world red wines at under £7 can be served in the same way – and many will be all the better for it - simply because they are made in a soft, fruity, more or less tannin-free style. And almost any pinot noir, whether £6 or £20, is delicious cool. Bottle, fridge, now.

2006 Asda Extra Special Beaujolais Villages, £4.98
Textbook Beaujolais – soft, juicy, peppery strawberry fruit (Asda).

2007 Casillero del Diablo Pinot Noir, £5.99
Great value Chilean pinot with sweet fruit and soft oak (Sainsbury’s).

2006 Maven Marlborough Pinot Noir, £9.19
Stylish NZ pinot with wild strawberry aroma and supple texture (selected Tesco).