Put a Chill on It
As published in 50+ Living by Gina Trippi
"Put a Chill on It!"
Thinking it’s too hot for a room temperature Cabernet Sauvignon? You’re probably right! Put a chill on your red wines. The optimal serving temperature for most red wines is about 62-65F. But some red varietals really come alive served a little cooler. Many of the best wines to chill are made from Italian varietals. So let’s take a trip through Italy and chill out!
Starting in the northeast corner of Italy just north and west of The Veneto, is Alto Adige. We find Schiava! The grape prefers shade and produces a fresh and light wine with rounded tannins and moderate alcohol at about 11%. Ruby red in the glass with a purple shimmer, Schiava is floral including violets on the nose with a fruity palate and a hint of white pepper. Perfect for warmer days and lighter fare. Schiava from Alois Lageder is leading the way putting this forgotten grape solidly on the wine map. The suggested serving temperature is 54-57F.
Going just south from The Veneto, we pass through Emilia Romagna where they are serving Lambruso! What we call Lambrusco is a family of old grape varietals native to the region, a part of ancient history. Cato spoke of these grapes in Agri Cultura in 160 BC, humanity’s oldest farming manual. Lambrusco styles range from very dry to sweet to sparkling. The four most popular varietals, Sorbara, Maestri, Grasparossa and Salamino pair with a wide range of summer dishes. Served Lambrusco between 50 and 55F.
The Trentino-Alto Adige Region in South Tyrol is home to another native varietal, Lagrein. A dark garnet color in the glass, the grape offers aromas of violets, bilberry and blackberry with hints of dark chocolate. Spicy and smooth on the palate with a long finish. Colterenzio, a popular producer of Lagrein, recommends you serve this bottle at 58-60F.
From Alto Adige, we travel west across northern Italy to Langhe in the Piedmont . Here we find a wine from GD Vajra, Langhe Russo, a fruity blend of Nebbiolo, Barbera and Dolcetto. Beautiful violet hues spring from the purple in the glass. Concentrated flowers and fruits on the nose give way to a plate of intense berries, hay, tobacco and spices. Serve at 58-60F.
And way down south in Sicily is the indigenous grape Frappato! Flavors are strawberry, pomegranate, white pepper and clove. Frappato is perfect for summer pasta with sun dried tomatoes or a dish with roasted red peppers and works through fall with turkey and cranberry sauce. Valle dell’Acate frappato is a shop favorite presenting all the varietally typical flavors plus raspberry and cherry. Experts say to serve Frappato between 55 and 60F.
Other varietals available at bottle shops to consider for the cool are Dolcetto, Neurella Mascalese, Corvina and Ruche.
How can you tell if you have hit the cool? Wine Spectator recommends a temperature control cuff!
The cuff wraps around the bottle giving you a reasonably good reading of the temperature inside.