Rosso Alfresco… get the ice bucket ready

Our regular wine guru Tom Harrow recommends his favourite chilled reds which make perfect partners for the BBQ this season

The wine world is forever shifting boundaries and breaking down barriers, and drinks choices are less black and white (or red and white). Even leaving aside orange and pink wines, styles of lighter, fresher, more digestible reds, with less extraction, crunchier fruit, softer tannins and more toothsome acidity are becoming increasingly voguish, and the only thing cooler is cooling them. With the temperature rising outside, as alternative aperitifs, versatile food wines, or as a last vivifying glass before retiring to your cabin, below is a hand-picked selection of the most interesting chillable reds from off the beaten track.

Biddenden Vineyards Gamay 2018
Most producers in England have grubbed up the neutral teutonic varieties like Reichensteiner and Dornfelder, that sound like World War Fighter Aces, in favour of nobler grapes Chardonnay and Pinot Noir especially. Whilst the majority of plantings are dedicated to sparkling wines there is a growing production of still wines, white and red. The long and blissfully warm, dry summer of 2018 produced an abundant and exceptional quality harvest and the first red wines are just starting to hit the market, among them is this fantastic Gamay from Biddenden in Kent: juicy, fresh, and herbaceous-edged, this is British Beaujolais and perfect summer drinking.

Domaine Tissot Poulsard Vielles Vignes
The Jura region of France, between Burgundy and Switzerland, is one of the country’s least well-known but has a long history of viticulture and indigenous grapes which make distinctive wines with less familiar but still engaging flavour profiles. Poulsard is a thin-skinned variety that makes anaemic-looking but nevertheless elegantly perfumed and flavoursome reds full of woodland fruits and earthy, herbal tones. Bénédicte and Stéphane Tissot make a particularly nice example, farmed biodynamically, and from old vines, giving extra complexity and a little more structure than most.

Douloufakis Winery Liatiko
Liatiko is a native variety of Crete and the Douloufakis Winery in Dafnes, now run by third generation, Italian-trained winemaker Nikolas, is definitely an estate whose wines are worth looking out for when mooring up in Elounda. The Dafnios red has a light, almost tawny colour, but is medium-bodied with rich, stewed plum and red fruits and soft, spicy tannins – a gentle Cretan Cote du Rhone. Trailed through the water off the back of the tender for twenty minutes at a safe and moderate speed, will clarify the aromas and flavours and add a touch more freshness to this very attractive summer red.

Ochota Barrels The Fugazi Vineyard Grenache 2017
A brilliant, new-wave Aussie red from surfers and punk enthusiasts Taras and Amber Ochota, the limpid Fugazi Grenache is all about perfume, texture and bite and a world away from the opaque, jammy, oaky cherry-bombs that litter the region. Wafts of cloves, clay, pot pourri, and dried cranberry assail the nostrils and the vibrant, acid-led palate riffs around hedgerow strawberries, smoked thyme and Turkish Delight. Best served at cellar temperature or just below, this versatile, pungent red is a beaut with fat, soy-marinated tuna steaks or spicy game sausages fresh off the BBQ on a quiet beach with the sun going down.

A humble but satisfying lunch-time red from the hills of the South Tyrol in North Italy, Schiava comes from the Latin for ‘slave’ so has no pretensions but better examples exceed expectation. Called Vernatch to the German-speaking locals (and in Germany known as Trollinger), the characters of raspberries, grapefruit peel, rose petals and a whiff of smoke are common. Elena Walch in Termeno (Tramin) and slightly further north Mannincor in Caldaro (Kaltern) make two particularly commendable examples, which are well worth seeking out and popping in the fridge or ice bucket alongside a plate of cold smoked meats, fish and cheeses.