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This red wine you’ve never heard of is going to be your summer favourite


Think we’re out of red wine season? Think again (Picture: Getty Images)

Not to be smug about it, but the red Marzemino grape is name checked in an eighteenth-century opera by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. I’ll let that one sit with you for a second…

Exactly, in your face big-name bottles who shall remain, well, nameless, Mozart is a significantly more impressive flex than being mentioned in angsty Taylor Swift lyrics or having Drake spit a few sick verses about you.

Back to timeless classical music, the Don Giovanni opera premiered in 1787 to great fanfare, based on a Spanish libertine called Don Juan who worked his way around Europe seducing women and killing any man that stood in his way.

He’s basically a morals-free zone who meets his fate at a dinner party where he is consumed by the flames of hell. Before he’s burnt to a crisp though, he orders a glass of red wine by crying out, ‘Versa il vino! Eccellente Marzemino!’, translated as, ‘let the wine pour, the excellent Marzemino!’

Ok, so Mozart clearly had a death-row wine choice for poor old Don Giovanni, but why Marzemino and what exactly is it?

And how do you take it to another level in the warmer months when drinking red wine isn’t exactly the done thing? You chill it!

First things first – Marzemino is a red grape from the northern part of Italy, the Trentino-Alto Adige region to be precise. It used to be a key ingredient in the famous Colli Conegliano Refrontolo wines, made in the ‘Passito’ style in which the grapes are dried out in the winery to bring out their raisiny sweetness.

Metro’s Rob Buckhaven knows a thing or two about a good red (Picture: Natasha Pszenicki)

Nowadays, Marzemino is its own headline act and produces light, dry and juicy summery reds.

Flavour-wise, Marzemino wines are perfumed, light, herbal and dry with soft and juicy notes of sour cherry and raspberry, not dissimilar to Beaujolais, Cabernet Franc or Pinot Noir in fact.

And we all know how good each of those red wines taste when they’re chilled.  

Given Marzemino isn’t a grape you see every day, it’s lucky for us that Sainsbury’s do a delicious Taste the Difference bottle of it for just under £10, so we can give it a punt without breaking the bank.

But what makes this grape a premier candidate for chilling? Well, it’s soft and fruity, not too tannic and has high acidity, which makes it super quenchsome when it’s poking out of an ice bucket on a warm day.

In fact, a bottle of Marzemino is perfect for a certain speed-chilling hack that’s doing the rounds. This one is known in sommelier circles and can be summed up by the words, salted, ice and bath.

Just half-fill a metal container large enough to hold your bottle with ice, and the other half with water and two cups of salt. Submerge the bottle up to the neck, twist and swirl the bottle for five minutes. The salt brings down the freezing point of ice because saltwater can chill and still remain a liquid.

So, if you’re planning on going somewhere hot anytime soon, or just looking to slather on the suncream out in the garden, if the weather ever turns cranks itself up, Marzemino is the red grape to be chilling down in your saltwater bath.

If it’s good enough for Mozart…

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