Red is the new white


Helen Farrell
July 20, 2016 - 10:28

“Drink it cool” is the mantra being promoted by the Chianti Wine Consortium this summer.


In efforts to increase red wine sales in Italy during the summer months, the Consortium, which comprises 3,600 producers across six Tuscan provinces, is debunking the myth that red wine should always be served at room temperature. Which becomes a very steep Tuscan hill to climb when the thermometer hits 35 degrees.




Recently launched throughout Italy, the #chiantigustalofresco campaign encourages a revised awareness of how to drink red wines while being overt about the commercial nous behind the project.


Consorzio Vino Chianti president Giovanni Busi explains the reasons behind the campaign. “With this campaign, we aim to increase significantly the sales of our wine during a season that is wrongly regarded as unfavourable to taste and drink ‘reds’… As a Consortium we have the social responsibility to stimulate the market through campaigns of this magnitude, hence supporting our members and companies with a greater focus on correct consumption.”


Although the campaign is hashtag based, it is rooted in real life and Italy’s major retail chains. More than 7,000 Conad and Coop supermarkets through the country are taking part in the promotion of responsible summer Chianti drinking thanks to a nifty gadget: a wristband that measures the serving temperature. Sixteen degrees Celsius is the recommendation from the Consortium: the average cellar temperature and the perfect gradation to preserve the aromas of a young and fragrant Sangiovese during the summer heat.


Not that 16 degrees is set in stone, there’s room for flexibility. Francesco Sorelli, global brand and corporate PR manager for Ruffino, a #chiantigustalofresco project partner, explains, “You can even chill it to less than 16 degrees. In the summer, it won’t take long for the temperature of the wine to go back up to 23 or 24 again… Personally, I love to pop an ‘everyday’ Chianti in the fridge and have a glass with a cold pasta dish, tomatoes or vitello tonnato, veal with a tuna sauce.”


Award-winning wine writer and director of the Vinitaly International Academy Ian D’Agata is a fan of chilled Chianti, too. “A fresh non-riserva Chianti can be slightly chilled and enjoyed cooler than that. It’ll warm up quickly enough if left on the table while you eat. It’s easier to chill lightly Chiantis made with Sangiovese and native grapes such as Canaiolo Nero or Malvasia Nera as opposed to Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. But a young Chianti released in the year, redolent with aromas and flavors of violet and redcurrant, is lovely drunk slightly cold, but not too cold, for Sangiovese is a high acid, high tannin grape, and serving the wine too cold would mean have it become slightly bitter, but a judicious cooling down will only enhance everyone’s dining experience!”


So, swap your Sangria, rosato or white wine for a young, fragrant, uncomplicated Chianti (not a Chianti Classico or a Riserva) this summer. But drink it chilled, mi raccomando.



Tried and tested at 16 degrees and lower

San Michele a Torri IGT “Chicchi Rossi”

Ruffino Chianti DOCG

Poggio al Bosco Chianti DOCG

San Vito Chianti DOCG

Fattoria Lavacchio Chianti DOCG “Puro”

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