Fifty-five degrees

  • Just right: Michael Robinson believes that, like planets, there is a Goldilocks temperature zone for wine

    Just right: Michael Robinson believes that, like planets, there is a Goldilocks temperature zone for wine

I would like to feature, during this very warm weather, red wines that are best served at 55F.

I say this for the wine lovers of Bermuda, Bahamas, Belize, Cayman, Palau, the United States and its associated territories; for anyone else from one of the other almost 200 countries on our planet, I say 12.77C.

Scientists refer to planets that they believe to be in a human habitable zone as Goldilocks planets — not too hot and not too cold, but just right.

I posit that there is a Goldilocks temperature zone for wine and the idea of “room temperature” for reds is based on the average European household of a hundred years ago.

The candidate for today is pinot noir, which marries so well with chicken, pork, salmon and tuna. A bottle of pinot noir should reach this ideal temperature after one hour in a regular refrigerator and you will better enjoy the fruit and perfume.

If it is served at Bermuda room temperature, say 80F, the alcohols will jump from the glass and the flavours will be blurred. Trust me — it makes a big difference.

This grape is the biggest challenge for winemakers to get right. It is not easy to find inexpensive pinot noir, but our Veramonte Casablanca Valley 2016 Pinot Noir is an excellent value from Chile at $18.35. It has a garnet, slightly transparent colour, aromas of bramble fruit, spice, leather and a hint of earth.

It’s fruit-forward, and flavours include tart cherries and a hint of savoury meats.

You may wonder why the reference to leather and meat, but it is a fact that pinot noir often exhibits the animal side of life.

Silvio Jermann has a cult following for his wonderful white wines made at his winery in Friuli, situated in the northeast corner of Italy.

He also produces a lovely pinot noir that, in his inimitable way, is called Red Angels on the Moonlight. We have the 2014 that has a fine ruby red colour. Its aroma is heady, well orchestrated and slightly herbaceous. The pinot nero variety stands out with elegant finesse. Its taste is delicate, elegant and yet quite full-bodied and balanced. $32.45.

Oregon pinot noir benefits from being the same distance north of the equator as the grape’s birthplace in the Burgundy region of France.

Yamhill Valley 2015 Pinot Noir has expressions of high-toned red fruit, a rich, textured mid-palate, black cherry, deep black fruit qualities and earthy aromatics. The structure and acidity create a dynamic perception, making this wine a culinary delight. $24.75.

Davis Bynum 2015 Jane’s Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir garnered a double gold medal and it is from a family that has been making fine pinot for more than 30 years. It has a lovely ruby red hue with aromas of cherry, plum, black tea and minerality.

On the palate there is a wild berry component along with dark cherries and vanilla that shine through with balance, acidity and a long, lingering finish. Warm, bright and full of flavour and a wonderful combination of fruit, earth and spice. Perfection with grilled salmon. $39.25.

One should not think of pinot noir without considering Burgundy. Although there has been a rather long succession of good vintages, there is one that is now very much in demand and that is the quite remarkable 2015.

Let me mention our “little sister” — Discovery Wines on Bakery Lane.

They have over ten selections from David Butterfield and it was he who founded Discovery more than 12 years ago.

His love of winemaking has caused him to make the decision to live in France and put all his efforts into the creation of fine burgundy, both red and white. Discovery has Butterfield 2015s as well as a few well-aged ones.

The annual allotment from Domaine Armand Rousseau arrived at Discovery this month and already some have sold out.

In February of this year, Clive Coates, Master of Wine, wrote in Decanter magazine: “Rousseau is one of the small number of Burgundy estates to which I would unhesitatingly award three stars.

“Indeed, as far as Chambertin and Clos de Bèze are concerned you could even argue that there is Rousseau and, then, there are the rest. The vines are old and the winemaking perfectionistic — and the wines themselves are stunning.”

What I find quite amazing is that Armand Rousseau is mentioned in the same breath as Romanee-Conti and I see their 2015s listed for $25,000 per bottle and up! Really astounding.

Discovery has 2014 and 2015 Armand Rousseau Gevrey-Chambertin in stock and, as this is their basic “starter wine”, it is available for $103.55.

The website Burghound says of the 2014: “A more deeply pitched nose reflected ultra-fresh aromas of dark currant, pungent earth and plenty of ‘sauvage’ character.

“There is both good richness and punch to the detailed middleweight flavours that avoid rusticity, largely thanks to the fine grain of the supporting tannins. This should drink well young, if desired.”

Of the 2015, Robert Parker says that it will bestow drinking pleasure for the next six years. Whether you follow the scale of Daniel Fahrenheit or Anders Celsius, please be careful with your wine temperatures. And I should add, that to totally appreciate pinot noir, it needs to be served in a quite large balloon-shaped glass.

This column is an advertorial for Burrows Lightbourn Ltd. E-mail or 295-0176. Burrows Lightbourn has stores in Hamilton (Front Street East, 295-1554), Paget (Harbour Road, 236-0355) and St George’s (York Street, 297-0409). Visit

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Published Aug 31, 2018 at 8:00 am (Updated Aug 31, 2018 at 8:14 am)

Fifty-five degrees

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