What to drink: best red wine for summer
If you think red wine is only for cosy autumn and winter days, think again. Here are 9 totally drinkable summer red wines.
Chapeau Melon Rouge, Jérémie Huchet
Refreshing and light blend of Gamay and Pinot Noir from the Loire Valley, drink it straight from the bottle at room temperature (well, straight from the bottle in a glass). It’s also lovely lightly chilled – just pop it in the fridge for 30 minutes. It’s the perfect evening starter.
Viña Progreso, Revolution Tannat
BBQ season isn’t over yet! This vibrant Tannat from Uruguay, shows fresh red fruits and firm tannins – it’s not the full bodied, heavy and tannic tannat you might expect! And it pairs beautifully with grilled meat.
Trinity Hills Gimblett Gravels Syrah
More complex than the first two wines, this one is spicy and fruity, and deep and vibrant in colour. It’s from New Zealand and has an elegant style – more Northern Rhone syrah than Barossa Shiraz. It’s ready to drink now, and goes well with full flavoured red meats and game. Or, give it 5-7 years to age and the development of mineral, gamey characters will result.
THE EXPERT: Nik Darlington at Pip of Manor Farm, Seale
Armas de Guerra Mencía 2018
The Mencía grape comes from Bierzo in north-west Spain, close to Portugal, where the vineyards are planted high up in the hills on steep inclines. These cooler climes and the lighter profile of Mencía (often compared to Cabernet Franc) make it an excellent red for warmer months.on
Wightman & Sons ‘The Gentleman & His Small Brother’ 2019
Cinsaut is all in vogue in South Africa at the moment as smaller producers take advantage of a relative abundance of great old vineyards to make “poor man’s Pinot Noir”, so-called because it can be similarly perfumed and red fruited. Andrew Wightman’s funky number from the Swartland is outrageously tasty and refreshing, just 10.5% alcohol, a vibrant red colour and all in all like an adult Ribena!
Murdoch Hill Artisan Series Surrey Pinot Meunier 2019
Now this might appropriately be called “Surrey” but it hails from the Adelaide Hills, not the Surrey Hills! Michael Downer names his top ‘Artisan Series’ wines after horse-drawn carriages in homage to his grandfather, an avid collector. The “Surrey” carriage has a rigid frame and open sides making for a solid ride with a feeling of freedom – just like this lighter, vibrant, juicy red made unusually from the rare Pinot Meunier grape, typically the minor blending partner to Chardonnay & Pinot Noir in Champagne and English sparkling wines.
THE EXPERT: Rupert Pritchett at Taurus Wines, Bramley
Un Bon Canon Pinot Noir 2019
Winemaking duo Bruno Lafon and François Chamboissier bring together their respective expertise from Burgundy and the Languedoc to make this warm-hearted and unoaked Pinot Noir. Bright and juicy with notes of tart redcurrant, cranberry jam and a sprinkle of white pepper, it would be a perfect foil to a meaty barbecue. Serve with a light chill.
Hugel Classic Pinot Noir 2016
The Hugel family have been working the same vineyards for 12 generations since 1639. A lighter and fresher style than its Burgundian contemporaries, this recalls wild raspberry and cherry, with slightly smoky woodland overtones. Pair it with rustic Alsatian cuisine: sausages, charcuterie or white meat, and drink it slightly chilled.
Soli Pinot Noir 2017
This has that quintessential, evocative Pinot aroma: cherry and strawberry show in spades alongside sous bois, cinnamon and sandalwood notes. Lithe and silky on the palate, it competes with what you get from France at double the price.