As the temperature continues to rise, we are more inclined to choose something best served cold to beat the heat. While a crisp white or a beautifully blushed rose may be the first thing to mind, have you ever considered a nice cold red? The French call this ‘vin de soif’, or ‘wine of thirst’, and have been popping light reds like Gamay in the chiller for years. We’re not talking quite as cold as a white or rose wine, but just chilled enough that the fruit of the wine is focused and any evidence of alcohol is muted - about 20 to 30 minutes in the fridge to bring it down to 13 to 16 degrees celsius is perfect.
Without further ado here are some of our favourite crushable, thirst quenching reds to chill out with this summer:
Malivoire Gamay Noir - Niagara Peninsula, Ontario $28
Gamay has had a hard go of it since the 14th Century and is commonly overshadowed by its flashier sibling, Pinot Noir. You can thank the Duke of Burgundy who at the the time banished Gamay from the region declaring it “despicable and disloyal”. In our humble opinion, that guy was a quack and thankfully Gamay is making a big comeback thanks to enthusiastic sommeliers and wine lovers. Gamay is best described as Pinot Noir’s fun sister - personable, easy-going, and an all around good time, and It is also absolute perfection after being popped into the chiller.
One of our favorite Gamays on the shelf isn’t a French example, but is actually from a Ontario! This ecocentric winery was started by Martin Malivoire, an ex-motion picture special effects director. Upon your first sip you will notice red berries and a touch of pepper. As you continue to drink this Gamay it offers generous cherry compote and blueberry aromas, and as you drop the temperature a beautiful floral scent reminiscent of the white lilacs around our city is brought forward. Chill it down and drink up!
Pietradolce Etna Rosso - Sicily, Italy - $29
If there is anyone who would have a few tricks to beat the heat it would be the Sicilians. Here, in the North Eastern part of the island, they produce not only big, bold wines, but also elegant, light reds. The Pietradolce Etna Rosso is 100% Nerello Mascalese grown on the Northern slopes of the volcanic Mount Etna. This winery has a passion for tradition and a deep love for their vines and terroir, and this philosophy shows in the bottle. These grapes are grown 800 meters above sea level. This elevation imparts the bright, everlasting acidity you will see in this wine. Mount Etna’s volcanic soils are responsible for imparting a refreshing minerality that when combined with wild strawberry and desert herbs brings you an absolutely crushable red. This is a perennial staff pick we couldn’t help but share.
Testalonga ‘Follow Your Dreams’ Carignan - Swartland, South Africa- $39
From the exciting wine region of Swartland, South Africa we give you a natural red wine to add to your patio drinking roster. As the label suggests, winemaker Craig Hawkins produces wine “made from grapes” and nothing else. Follow Your Dreams is 100% Carignan that is spontaneously fermented, and is a fruit-driven wine that is soft and luscious. Baked raspberry and fresh plum on the palate is tied nicely together with a hint of smoky flavour when chilled. Don’t let the bottle’s quirky label fool you, this wine is some seriously good juice! A great example of why the Swartland is quickly becoming one of the wine world’s most vibrant and exciting regions.