I Break The Red Wine Rules and IT’S OKAY!

It’s hot in Iowa these days.  How hot, you say? Mid-90’s, no breeze, lots of humidity, sweat-trickling-down-your-chest hot.

Well, I can certainly drink lots of well-chilled white wines on my deck in this weather. But what to do when I want to drink a red wine on my hot summer deck? 

Oh heck, just break the rules!  Throw that wine in the refrigerator.  Chill the heck out of it!

Wine people can get darn uptight about wine rules.  Just ask Wini Moranville.  Read her blog here about asking a sommelier for ice cubes at a restaurant–yes, ice cubes!–for her white wine that was served too warm!

The rules exist to make your wine drinking the best possible experience.  Most red wines will taste best served between 55-68 degrees, depending on body and type.  But during these hot summer days, IT IS REALLY OKAY to find a medium-bodied, fruit-forward red wine and chill it in the refrigerator. No need to explain yourself. Other than, it is HOT AS…..well, you know.

I did just that last night.  See? Here are my red wines happily chilling in my refrigerator.

I put together some picnic fare, (watermelon topped with feta and fresh basil, and zucchini/ pepper/ cheese quesadillas) and poured these cold wines in thick glasses.  Here is what happened. (The wine police did not stop by and confiscate my cold bottles, by the way. And, I AM the wine police!)

The 2 Copas (dos copas, meaning two glasses) is a red blend from Spain made from 50% Syrah and 50% Tempranillo. No oak aging is used in production, making this a perfect wine for chilling to accent it’s rich fruit.

Riunite Lambrusco is a wine I drank in college and kind of forgot about. Its soft, slightly sweet nature makes it a great picnic wine and allows it to chill nicely. The Lambrusco has a long history in Italy. According to Riunite, Lambrusco was the favorite wine of Augusta Caesar’s second wife.  I wonder if she drank it chilled?


Riunite Lambrusco brings sweet raspberries to the palate softened with a hint of fizz.  Its berry fruit lingers sweetly on the palate, then finishes clean and dry. It paired best with the watermelon and feta. Even with its savory flavor from the fresh basil, the sweet juicy watermelon, as well as the sea salt, blended pleasantly with the sweet notes of the wine.

2 Copas shows dark cherry and raspberry notes, some earthy spice, and a little tart berry on the finish. Drinking it straight from the refrigerator seemed to accent the tart note. It seemed to show better with only a slight chill. And since there is no sweetness to this wine, it paired best with all the vegetables in the quesadilla.

Earlier in the week I had chilled this Radio Boca Tempranillo.

It is a medium-bodied, dry but fruit-forward red wine from Spain. It shows flavors of plum and blackberry with a little dusty earthiness and spice. It handled a refrigerator chill so well, I was even able to drink it from a plastic cup! The strong, refreshingly cooled fruit flavors held up just fine. Talk about breaking the rules!

Break the rules, chill some red wines, and enjoy them on your sizzling hot deck!


Drinking chilled on a hot summer patio!;

Drinking with picnic foods;

Breaking the rules!


About the author: winesnob50@yahoo.com

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