Red Wines for Summer Sipping
Just because the weather is finally heating up, you don’t have to put your love for red wine on hold for the next three months! When thinking about which red wines are best to enjoy during the summer, look for wines that are lighter-bodied, have higher levels of acidity and are low in tannins. An easy way to quickly narrow these down on the shelves is to look for wines with lower alcohol content. This profile results in ones that are lighter, more refreshing and adapt to being slightly chilled (no longer than 30 minutes – an hour in the fridge, or about 15 minutes in an ice bath). We’ve picked five of our favorites to look for this summer.
Why It Works: These wines are high in acidity, low in tannins and have very bright, fruity flavors. Barbera pairs extremely well with all types of food and is an everyday table favorite in Italy. A Barbera will surely be a crowd hit at whatever kind of gathering you may be hosting (or attending).
Bottle To Try: Scarpetta Barbera del Monferrato 2010 (Italy)
Why it Works: Beaujolais wines are well known for being huge summer favorites, and with good reason. Made from the Gamay grape, they are light, refreshing and low in tannins, with aromas of strawberry and raspberry. Beaujolais also tastes great when chilled, so you can enjoy them even on the balmiest of summer nights. Did you know they're also excellent with Asian takeout?
Bottle To Try: Domaine du Vissoux Cuvée Traditionnelle Vieilles Vignes (France)
Why It Works: Probably the lightest wine we discuss here, Lambrusco is just plain fun for summer. Slightly sparkling, Lambrusco pairs extremely well with grilled meats (and a lot of different food in general, like pizza). They can vary from being extremely sweet to very dry. Choose variations that fall on the dry side of the spectrum (these often feature “secco” in the name). Keeping it dry will pair better with the typical foods at a bbq and have a pleasing taste when given even a full chill as you would other sparkling wines.
Bottle To Try: Fattoria Moretto Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro 2010 (Italy)
Why It Works: Pinot Noirs which fall on the lighter-bodied side are the ideal weight for summer, but still pack in a lot of flavor. You have a lot of options when purchasing a Pinot Noir, so look for ones that are a good value and have a lot of fruit and berry flavors, use that lower ABV rule we mentioned above if you're not sure. They are versatile with an array of foods, like roast chicken and salmon, and can stand up well to be being chilled. Stay away from more robust expressions, as chilling these beyond cellar temperature will likely dilute the flavor profile.
Bottle To Try:Tousey Winery Pinot Noir 2010 (New York). (A 2012 medalist in the NY International Wine Competition.)
Why It Works: Despite the name, the grapes are the only thing small about this wine. Petite Sirahs are definitely on the bolder side; inky in color, with deep blueberry flavors and strong tannins. But the wine works well for summer because it pairs amazingly at a bbq with whatever meat you can throw at it. Burgers, ribs, steak, it doesn’t matter. The Sirah won't be overpowered by the dish and will complement the flavors of the meat.
Bottle To Try:Diamond Ridge Vineyards Petite Sirah 2010 (California) (Also a 2012 NYIWC medalist.)
Cheers to summer!