This time of year, the thought of drinking a rich, tannic, high-alcohol red makes me sweat; but there is a way to enjoy your red and stay cool at the same time- try it cold. Yes, some reds are better suited to being served cold than others, especially light-bodied, dry wines like unoaked Spanish Garnacha, Loire Valley reds from Sancerre and Chinon (Pinot Noir and Cabernet Franc), Zweigelt from Austria (cross of Blaufrankisch and St. Laurent), Beaujolais (Gamay), and Barbera from Piedmont; I should also mention that inexpensive, good-value Pinot Noirs, Malbecs, Tempranillos, and Sangiovese (among others) are also quite tasty when served cold.
Young, dry, light-bodied red wines are delicious, in my opinion; I love the pure, fresh taste of raw fruit, acid, and tannin (especially if drunk straight from the cask). When such wines are chilled they are enhanced with a thirst-quenching, refreshing quality, in some cases more so than a white wine or rose.
Cold, light-bodied reds are also excellent for pairing with food- think picnic or “tailgating” fare! Try with antipasto (mozzarella, various olives, marinated peppers, prosciutto), cold grilled vegetables (asparagus, artichokes, carrots, broccoli) with a caper and garlic aioli, or cold meat sandwiches (leftover breaded veal, grilled chicken, roasted beef or lamb works great) on crusty French bread, with mayo, lettuce, tomato, and soft goat cheese.