David Fisher expounds on the merits of chilled wine

About I decade ago I was travelling through France using Alistair Sawday’s guide, French Bed and Breakfast. This was how I came upon a couple of nights in a chateau near to Lyons.

The owner was a genuine French count whose lineage went back to before the Revolution, but who actually hailed from Normandy. He and his American wife entertained their guests to a supper on the terrace of the chateau on our first night there. I forget the menu, except for its excellence.  What did stick very firmly in my mind, however, was the wine.

The evening was very sultry, and my normal drink of heavyish red wine would have been very heavy indeed.  The count, however, had the perfect solution. He had chilled several bottles of his own vintage and served them. A most delicious accompaniment to a delicious meal. The secret, he said, was to take a light red wine, perhaps no more than 12.5% alcohol, and chill it as one might any rosé or white wine, and then serve it on a warm evening. Very refreshing!

By the time you read this the English summer will be on the horizon. Take it from one who knows, however: chilled red wine as a hot summer alternative to white or rosé is much to be preferred.