The Brits have never really got used to the idea of cold soup. Gazpacho, ajo blanco, vichysoisse and their ilk are loved on the continent for their suavity in summer. A slurp of cool savour, flavours that are purer and better for being served cold.
The same goes for a certain posse of red wines. Read on for our top three.
I remember my mum warming bottles of red by the Rayburn in winter; in summer, sticking them near the barbie so they’d be properly tepid for drowsy swigging. Here at home, we’ve grown used to warm reds.
Frankly this makes most taste pretty disgusting: warm alcohol, stewed fruit, any thrilling perfume duly burnt off. The recommendation “serve at room temperature” comes from a time when rooms were chilly, with no persistent fug of central heating. At C&B we think (we know!) reds are best served somewhere between cellar and cool room temperature: a bit more than 12, but certainly less than 18C.
But there’s a classic trio of reds you must try cold. I mean really, properly chilled. These are wines with pep and verve, whose flavours and textures are thoroughly flattered by a good blast in the fridge. Apart from anything, it’s a lovely change to have the woodsier, darker berry flavours you miss, drowning – as most of us are by this point – in summer’s wash of white.
C&B TOP THREE REDS FOR CHILLING
Burgundy’s fruity underdog. In its home region, the Gamay grape – from which Beaujolais is made – is overshadowed by noble Pinot. But it gives huge pleasure and offers exceptionally good value. As a rule, the cheaper the beauj, the colder you can serve.
I love this pretty, rosy Fleurie from Dominique Morel served cool, but you can equally plump for a £4.60 bottle of Sainsbury’s House Beaujolais and chill the bejesus out of it. Both give you breezy, summer berry fleshiness.
Northern Italian summer style. Grapes you’ve never heard of - Corvina, Rondinella, Molinara; a racy threesome that loves a good chill.
Allegrini’s Valpolicella Classico, made in the heart of the region, is the classic and possibly best example of this wine, beloved of London’s iconic River Café.
Another under-appreciated wine from the Loire Valley. This is made of the Cabernet Franc variety, parent of the more famous Sauvignon but with far more funk and pepper than its offspring. I love to drink this lightly chilled, on a night in late summer when the coolly spicy flavours of the wine begin to turn the soul towards autumn.
Coudray Montpensier’s Chinon is an absolute ripper.
If you'd like to order any of these wines, email me firstname.lastname@example.org. We'll do 5% off a mixed six, 10% off a mixed dozen. Free delivery on orders 12 bottles and over.