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The Boston Globe

Food & dining

by the glass

Summertime charms

Chilled Loire reds may be the next hot thing. How cool is that?

For Americans, France’s Loire Valley is familiar as the source of the lively, mineral-inflected white wines of Sancerre and Muscadet. The region is also home to a broad, if less frequently encountered, range of red wines made from varietals such as cabernet franc, gamay (of Beaujolais fame), and the curious local antique pineau d’aunis. Although some are sturdy enough for long-keeping, most Loire reds - with their bright red berry fruit, crisp acidity, and modest alcohol - are designed to be consumed young, and cool.

Drop into one of the region’s many family-owned, working-class cafes during the warm months and chances are your red wine will come in a bottle, pitcher, or carafe beaded with condensation, the wine inside held at approximately the temperature of well water (55 degrees or thereabouts).

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