The warm months aren’t all about whites and rosé. Embrace the darker wine hues—and lots of ice
While it’s not ideal to fill your ice bucket with first-growth Bordeaux or muscular Barossa shiraz, there are abundant options for those wanting a cool glass of red during summer.
The road to chilled red success is navigated with careful consideration of weight and structure, density and tannin. Most of the red wines we keep in our cellars and decant on cooler days are built on the kind of sturdy framework that would look cumbersome and mawkish if served straight from the fridge.
Abundant tannins are exactly what we want to see in Bordeaux blends and Barolo, but when the fruit that wraps around those tannins is compressed and suppressed by refrigeration, those wines will often appear uncomfortably hard and unyielding.
Oak is another element that can become overbearing at cooler levels, and what seems nicely knit into the wine at room temperature becomes clunky and unbalanced. As such, look for lighter-framed wines that favour fruit over oak, acid over tannin, transparency over density and sinew over bulk; wines like the fleet-footed and dangerously drinkable Ochota Barrels Texture Like Sun 2023 ($42).
Amber Ochota continues the single-minded focus on making wines of beauty and deliciousness, an approach that has defined the label she started with her late husband Taras nearly two decades ago. This bunchy blend of chill-friendly red varieties like pinot noir, gamay and pinot meunier—with an elevating addition of a splash of gewürztraminer for spicy energy—is a slippery, slim-hipped wine of balletic grace and juicy refreshment designed to be drunk chilled.
Louis Schofield was a mentee of Taras Ochota and continues to work with Amber, so his education in bright, lively wine styles has been at the highest level, and he has clearly learned well. The 2022 Up on the Roof Light Dry Red he releases under his own Worlds Apart label ($32) is a cranberry-crunchy, elfin-framed blend dominated by gamay and grenache, with a fine, pithy taper and a lip-smacking flash of perky acidity.
Teroldego is a light, fragrant red variety from Alto Adige in North-Eastern Italy, incredibly suited to making lithe, linear wines that embrace a bit of chill. Made almost like a white wine, with just a brief maceration on skins to extract the merest suggestion of colour and tannin, this Foradori Lezer Teroldego 2022 ($50) is an outstanding example that will usher anyone who encounters it aboard the teroldego train.
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