Red Hot “Cool” Red Wines
“Sip” into something new and decadent with these recommended reds
Getting ready for treating the Big Man (Men) in your life to something particularly rich and flavorsome for Dad’s Day dinner? OK! I’ve got some really robust reds sure to match some bold BBQ brisket or a succulent sizzling steak.
First though, I want to address a particularly nettlesome problem that often robs wine lovers of the full pleasure of RED wine enjoyment. Specifically … serving red wines at too warm a temperature! So much has already been written about white wines getting the “cold shoulder” but reds also get a way-too-warm welcome at most tables.
When a red wine is served well-above “cellar temperature”(55 degrees) the tannins and other acidities found in the wine are perceived as more sharp and pronounced and fruit characteristics can be hidden. This makes the wine seem out of balance and much less appealing. By “well above” I mean good ol’American room temperature at 70 degrees.
Yeah … I know you’ve always been told room temp is correct but the rule was written long ago when rooms, especially in European homes, were MUCH cooler. Ideally, your ripe red libation should be a cool 60 to 62 degrees. The bottle should be cool, not cold, to your touch and should not form heavy condensation unless you are in very hot/humid environment.
The good news is that this is an easy problem to solve without having to lay out big bucks for a wine cellar or give up vital apartment floor space to a temperature controlled storage unit. Simply put the bottle on your refrigerator’s bottom shelf for about 20 minutes or in an ice bucket for about 10 minutes. You will be delighted with how much fresher and lively your favorite red wine will taste.
Now that you know how to make your red wine even “cooler,” here are a few really delicious selections that will make Father’s Day dinner even more special. And, he probably won’t even know why unless YOU tell him!
1. Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Avignonesi 2004, (Italy)
Not to be confused with the wines made from the grape montepulciano d’Abruzzo, this wine owes the “Nobile” part of its name to the prugnolo gentile grapes grown in the southern part of Tuscany. This is a deep ruby-red wine with a slight garnet edge offering subtle bouquet of violets and dried roses. Beautifully balanced for current enjoyment with grilled veal or roasted quail. It is a very good value from a prestigious winery. $24.99 (dallaterra.com)
2. Zinfandel, Seghesio “Home Ranch” 2007, (Sonoma)
Ripe aromas of blackberries and spice in the nose are echoed on the palate. Broad but soft tannins give it a nice presence in the mid-palate and a long finish. This is a great partner for BBQed meats … pork, chicken or beef! Try it with grilled Spanish chorizo or hot Italian sausages. $18.99 (Seghesio.com)
3. Cabernet Sauvignon, Beaulieu Vineyards 2005 (Napa)
This winery was, for a looong time, THE first name for top California cabs. Many newcomers have overshadowed them but they still produce top-notch, textbook Napa cabs at very fair prices. This wine is perfect evidence: Lush with cherry/black-currant fruit and nicely tuned tannins. A note of chocolate adds appeal. Lovely. Butterfly a leg of lamb or put a good dry rub on a NY strip and let the games begin! $18.99 (bvwines.com)
4. Pago de Larrainzar 2005, (Navarra, Spain)
Here is one for the table or the cellar! A well woven blend of Merlot (45%) Cab Sauv (40%) and Tempranillo (15%) made in the “international” style. Prominent oak notes fade to reveal nuances of violets and lead to flavors of dark plums and blueberries. Exceptionally well balanced. A wonderful wine for the true enophile in your life. $60.00 (broadbent-wines.com)