Chilled reds for summer
During the heat of summer, you could cool down with a dip in the ocean or a nap in the shade of an old oak tree – or you could seize on a bottle of chillable red and enjoy its juicy, fresh, textural qualities.
You find yourself at the table two-thirds of your way into a long lunch. The fizz and white have had their moment and the unforgiving summer makes one feel like they’d rather retire than drink a glass of drying red. Fortunately that certain spot can be well and truly hit by the juicy dowse of a chilled red wine.
For years winemakers have been crafting styles of red wine that are most appreciated when chilled, let alone perfectly designed to be drunk this way. Reds that are ideal for chilling are made from grape varieties that produce light to medium-bodied wine, such as Gamay, Grenache and Cabernet Franc. You’ll often find the ones where the aromatic likes of Pinot Gris or Gewürztraminer are splashed into a blend, keep things even more fresh. Wines that have spent less time than normal on their skins during fermentation, to prevent the wines being overly tannic (and any present tannin becomes less prominent when chilled) will make the wine softer to drink. I look for wines that spend little-to-no time matured in oak, as the juicy texture is king, and wines produced in stainless steel, or minimal time in oak are best for chilling, in my opinion. These wines drink well anywhere between 5C to 12C. You can chill a wine for 20 minutes in the freezer, 45 minutes in the fridge or half an hour in an Esky for best results. Drinking them is easy, and that’s the point - straight out of an Esky and into just about any vessel. Here are a few that I often keep in my fridge.
Good Intentions ‘Frankie’ Cabernet Franc – Mount Gambier, South Australia
Mount Gambier is Australia’s youngest volcano, having erupted only 6000 years ago donating the area with volcanic soils and mineral rich water. This makes for perfect conditions of unique grape growing at Andrew and Louise Burchell’s little patch of earth. This is a wine to show the fun side of Bordeaux varieties as a little blend of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. There are some dry, chewy tannin at play but at its core it is a vibrant cassis bomb with an electric mineral backbone.
Style: Organic, funky, fruit-forward
Stoney Rise ‘No Clothes’ Pinot Noir – Tamar Valley, Tasmania
Joe Holyman’s roots within the Tassie wine landscape run deep, with his parents’ grape-growing history stretching back four decades. The ‘No Clothes’ Pinot Noir is fresh and crunchy. It has no additions, no new oak, no sulphur - just grapes crushed, fermented and bottled. It packs wild strawberry and moments reminiscent of a good Beaujolais Nouveau.
Style: Organic, sulphur-free, fruit-forward
Murdoch Hill ‘Ridley’ Pinot x Three – Adelaide Hills, SA
Winemaker and all-round lovely guy Michael Downer is the youngest member of the Murdoch Hill family. His approach to winemaking is both fun and sophisticated with an unquestionable understanding of his family’s land. Here Pinot Meunier is wedded with Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir to produce gorgeously lifted aromatics - think Campari bitterness meets raspberry ice-tea.
Style: Young, dry, unfiltered
Ampeleia ‘Unlitro’ Alicante Blend – Tuscany – Italy
This label is a side project by Italian winemaker, Elizabetta Foradori, a seminal figure in a new wave of winemakers producing modern interpretations of age-old styles. This blend of Alicante Nero (Grenache), Carignano, Sangiovese and Alicante Bouchet which see just six months in steel tank, resulting in a bright, incredibly juicy wine with surprisingly savoury characters.
Style: Organic, young, unfiltered
Claus Preisigner ‘Puszta Libre’ – Burgenland, Austria
Since he began working his farm biodynamically in 2000, young Austrian winemaker Claus Preisinger has become at home with his land, using native varietals which are meticulously cared for. There is a purity and drive to all of the energetic wines he creates, in particular, this blend of Zweigelt and St Laurent - a medium level of richness with lovely round structure framing silky blackcurrants and buckets of acidity.
Style: Biodynamic, pure, savoury
About Olivia Evans
Olivia Evans is the sommelier and manager at Brunswick’s Fleet restaurant who devotes herself to all things fermented, brewed, distilled and roasted - and the people who come with these crafts. She is passionate about wines that come from honest producers who make sustainable contributions to the environment and their communities.
Words by Olivia Evans.