Yes, you can drink reds in summer! Here are five red wines for those cool evenings with your friends When we talk about wine, there are many myths to debunk and also lots of taboos that should be rendered acceptable. Indeed, it happens increasingly often in restaurants that inflexible ideas about wine and “room temperature” are tempered in favor of new trends that are more modern and open-minded. And if in summer we want a wine that’s refreshing, satisfying and fragrant, a cool red wine can also fit the bill. The new rule is that there aren’t any real rules, and wine is increasingly less snobbish. But how come it’s still so difficult to picture yourself, on a cool summer evening, sipping a nice glass of red wine by the pool? The answer has to do with chemistry. The truth is that the main problem linked with our perception of red wines is the tannins, those polyphenolic compounds present in the stalks, seeds, and skins of the grapes. It is in fact the tannins that cause astringency, the typical rough, dry feeling that a red wine leaves on your palate and gums: this sensation is due to the interaction of the tannins with your saliva. They bond with the proteins in saliva, making it lose its lubricating qualities, and if – at higher temperatures – this astringent sensation becomes less marked (the alcohol, though, becomes more noticeable), at lower temperatures the opposite is true. The only way to get round this problem is to choose red wines that have substantial fruit, but which are not very tannic and have a relatively low level of alcohol. Here then, for devotees of reds, are some wines that are also perfect for the summer and for a relaxing drink after dinner. From Casisano’s Brunello to Tommasi’s Ripasso, we offer you five red wines that not only display a supple, fruity style, but often also don’t mind being put in the fridge. The first summer red to drink with your friends is a wine from Southern Italy. We are in Basilicata, with Paternoster’s Synthesi Aglianico del Vulture. Its vivacious ruby red simply gleams with freshness, and it offers a fragrant, fruity bouquet of blackberries, blueberries, other wild berry fruits and pepper. On the palate it is dry but velvety, leaving a long, harmonious sensation in the mouth. 100% Aglianico del Vulture grapes and 13% alcohol by volume: a wine snob would tell you that the ideal temperature for Synthesi is 16°C, and that below 12°C you may find that certain aromas and flavors vanish and the tannins become hard. But don’t be afraid to drink it rather cool: it’ll surprise you in an incredibly positive way, and you’ll regret not having done so earlier! Our second summer-friendly red is the flagship wine of Poggio al Tufo, the Rompicollo Rosso Toscana, produced in the Maremma. A rich, refined blend of 60% Sangiovese and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon that charms you with its liveliness and elegance. Its bright, deep ruby red color catches your eye, but it is always the nose that enchants you when you taste this wine: it displays an elegant, variegated bouquet of ripe blackberries and raspberries, dried balsamic herbs and delicate sweet spices. Its mouth-filling flavor is rich and rounded, with velvety tannins. With its good body, Rompicollo reveals great smoothness on the palate, even when served at a lower temperature. Full-bodied and harmonious, Surani’s Heracles Primitivo di Manduria is one of the outstanding wines produced in Puglia. It displays an intense ruby red in the glass, and even from the first sniff it reveals a fascinating complexity: from floral sensations of violets to rich fruity ones of cherries and strawberries, against a background of balsamic notes, of lickerish and aromatic herbs. In the mouth, it is broad and full-bodied, seducing you with its graceful, refined tannins and a lively finish that is sustained by an attractive freshness, which dances across your palate like a butterfly. If these three wines may be served at lower temperatures than those at which we are used to tasting reds – demonstrating that a significant change is taking place in the ‘etiquette’ of , red wine consumption – there are also the ‘relaxation wines’, those that simply fit in perfectly with our desire to spend the evening outside in good company, with the crickets chirping in the background, the odd firefly peeking out on the veranda and with you perhaps curled up comfortably in a wicker chair. The wines to keep you company on these occasions are two particularly elegant products that should not be drunk cold, but which will make your summer evenings all the more enjoyable: the 2015 Brunello di Montalcino from Casisano and the Tommasi Ripasso Valpolicella Classico Superiore. The former, obtained from 100% Sangiovese Grosso grapes, has a deep ruby color and opens up on the nose with an elegant, fresh variety of fruity and spicy notes that are typical of Sangiovese. When you drink the Ripasso, on the other hand, a brilliant, deep ruby red nectar slides onto your palate and ripe cherries joyously invade your nose, followed by an intense spicy note, going to show once again that red wines give a very special flavor to the Summer and evenings spent with friends are a wonderful thing…but if accompanied by a good glass of wine, they are even better!