Wine Focus - Cool summer reds
It's June, the summer solstice in the Northern Hemisphere is only three weeks away, and a lot of wine lovers who usually prefer hearty, more robust red wines are turning to something more, well, refreshing.
Chill a white, chill a pink wine, that much is easy. But how about a summer wine for red-wine lovers? This is our quest for June in Wine Focus in our WineLovers Discussion Groups.
Let's consider the criteria that separate a summer red from its warmer winter cousin: Light in weight, low in alcohol, even chillable. (I'd never ice down a red, but a half-hour's refrigerator chill on a sultry day? Absolutely!)
The Gamay grape of Beaujolais is an obvious choice, but we're sure you'll find plenty more "cool" reds particularly well suited for cooling enjoyment when it's too darn hot. Bonarda from Argentina, lighter-styled Dolcetto and Barbera from Northwestern Italy, and even Pinot Noir will often serve this purpose well, although I wouldn't try to tame a big-boy California Pinot for this purpose, nor take a Burgundy of any quality much below a just-cool "cellar temperature."
We tried an Italian red, Gianfranco Alessandria 2007 Dolcetto d'Alba, over two nights recently, serving it the first night at room temperature and the second after about 45 minutes in the refrigerator, just until the bottle felt cool to the touch. The warm glass was certainly more typical of Dolcetto, earthy and more tannic than tart. Chilled, it seemed distinctly lighter and more refreshing, although the combination of chilling and, perhaps, a day in an opened bottled slightly heightened a noticeable but acceptable whiff of red-wine vinaigrette. See my tasting notes below.
I hope you'll tell us about your favorites, and if you're willing, add a tasting report. You'll find Wine Focus in our WineLovers Discussion Groups at this link:
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Today's Tasting Reports
Gianfranco Alessandria 2007 Dolcetto d'Alba ($12.99)
Dark garnet, with a clear reddish-violet edge. Blueberries and dusty earth on the nose with some "high-toned" hints of volatile acidity; black and blue fruit and a buzz of tannins on the palate. Earthy, good with food, leaves a pleasant tart-berry flavor in a longish finish. U.S. importer: Vanguard Wines LLC, Columbus. (May 30, 2009)
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