Chilling out this summer

This summer’s heatwave may well have numbed our senses, it certainly hasn’t slated our thirst. A thirst for water, of course, though also for wine as giving up our precious tipple is out of the question for we wine lovers. For those who haven’t succumbed to the highly fashionable rosé, what are the alternatives in the stifling heat?

At this time of year, our taste buds find it hard to cope with powerful, moreish red wines that are more suited to drinking by the fireside. For passionate red wine lovers, however, there are alternatives, namely chilled red wines: Gamay from Beaujolais or the Loire or even Pinot noir – provided you choose light-bodied wines with few tannins as chilling hardens a red wine’s tannins. Fruity, crisp styles are the best option for whites as acidity is what makes them refreshing. Make sure not to choose wines with too much residual sugar, though, as the sensation of sweetness cancels out the sensation of acidity. Preferred choices include white wines from cool or temperate regions where acidity levels are higher: Sauvignon blanc from the Loire, Pinot gris from Alsace and some white wines from South-West France made from Ugni blanc or Colombard that are very fruity and should be served very well-chilled.

Chilling wines is child’s play. Countless suppliers have come up with a whole host of ingenious ideas and gadgets: ice cubes made from granite, chiller sleeves, iced spouts that screw on to the neck of the bottle… However, the good old-fashioned ice bucket filled with water (water improves contact between the ice and the bottle), to which you can add a pinch of salt if it takes your fancy, is still the most effective and cheapest way of cooling wine. Just 10 minutes later and hey presto!