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Some drinks are canonical with summer. A glass of rosé, a fruit-garnished cocktail, an ice-cold Sauvignon Blanc. Yet, this is the year that wine drinkers are reaching for a new summer classic: a light red wine, preferably chilled.

A few decades ago, bigger was considered better: red wines were so dense, intense, and concentratedly rich they’d almost appear black in the light. However, over time, wine drinkers have realised that depth of colour doesn’t necessarily equal quality. Far from it. Pinot Noir, for example, one of the world’s most popular and sought after wines, is a decidedly pale red premised on aromatics and fruit purity, rather than palate weight and grippy tannins. With a steady trend towards a more health-conscious lifestyle, lighter meals and lower alcohol wines, there’s been a decided shift towards light reds, where power and density have been exchanged for elegance and fragrance.

While red wine should be served at room temperature, as the old rule goes, let’s not forget that “room temperature” referred to the ambience of medieval castles and chateaux — a far cry from the average temperature of a summer’s afternoon in Cape Town — inside or outside. Chilling a light red close to 14˚C emphasises the fruit and boosts refreshment, making it suitable for even the balmiest of days. No wonder chilled red wine became America’s favourite drink last summer.


On the local front, Cinsault and Grenache Noir are the perfect light reds for warmer days. While Cinsault used to be denigrated because of its lighter colour and body, it’s since undergone a renaissance as winemakers recognised its potential as a supremely approachable and drinkable light red, but equally capable of serious expressions. Grenache Noir, on the other hand, has long been recognised as a star grape in famous blends from Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Gigondas and the Languedoc. South African Grenache expressions tend to be more delicate with an understated concentration.

Join us at Belthazar as we embrace the chilled light red movement. With over 400 wines to choose from, we’re sure to find your perfect match to enjoy in this last stretch of summer