Temperatures are rising but that doesn't mean you have to switch to rosé. Red wines still deserve a place on your table, whether that table is indoors or out. The most refreshing way to make red wine a part of your summer routine is to chill it. Not all red wines should be chilled, though: Chilling full-bodied, high tannin, high-alcohol reds like cabernet sauvignon will make them taste astringent and metallic; and savory wines like syrah that have lots of leathery, earthy, or spicy flavors will not drink well when chilled. The best red wines to chill are naturally light in body, low in tannins (the compound found in the seeds, stems, and skins of grapes that can make your mouth feel dry and prickly), and are fruity. Chilling reds like these brings out their liveliness and minimizes the perception of alcohol. (That's the warming sensation that alcohol in wine can bring and it's not something we usually desire when it's hot out!)
The best way to chill a bottle of red for summer sipping? In an ice bucket or cooler. If you can't tuck the bottle into ice, simply put it in your refrigerator for 45-60 minutes before you plan to drink it. Here, five red wines that are perfect chilled.
Chances are, you're already enjoying pinot noir year round at room temperature, but it's also absolutely lovely chilled. Our favorite special occasion bottle, Long Meadow Ranch Anderson Valley Pinot Noir 20166, is silky smooth with ripe cherry flavors, and serving it cool brings out beautiful rose petal aromas. Salmon is a natural pair with pinot noir, so try a bottle with our Grilled Salmon with Rye Panzanella. For fabulous value, check out Chilean pinots like Leyda Pinot Noir 2020, they're growing in popularity and won't break the bank!
Sparkling wine lovers, take note: There is such a thing as sparkling red wine, and the most famous and delicious one is lambrusco, with comes from Italy's Emilia Romagna region (also home of prosciutto di Parma and Parmigiano Reggiano). Cleto Chiarli Vecchia Modena Premium Lambrusco di Sorbara is filled with brambly blackberry flavors and plenty of fizz. Lambrusco La Grasparossa, Zanasi is perfect when paired with pizza. If warm weather has inspire you to fire up the grill, try out one of our grilled pizza recipes.
Gamay is best known as the grape used in French Beaujolais wines. Cheerful and fruity, with red berry, zesty cranberry, and blood orange notes, it's traditionally served chilled (yes, the French do it!). Our pick is bright and fresh Domaine Chignard Fleurie "Les Moriers. It's so refreshing served with Grilled Pork-and-Pineapple Tacos. For other delicious bottle options, check out Marcel Lapierre "Raisins Gaulois" Vin de France 2020, and Sheldrake Point Gamay Noir 2019 from New York's Finger Lakes region.
A fantastic, easy drinking wine from Sicily, frappato is brimming with wild strawberry and red raspberry flavors and aromas, and has an incredibly smooth texture. Try Terre di Giurfo "Belsito" Frappato 2018 or Il Frappato, Valle dell'Acate 2019. Embrace the spirit of Italy in the summertime by pairing a chilled glass of frappato with a fresh summer pasta.
Grenache (known as garnacha in Spain), is a grape that makes luscious, medium-bodied wines full of pretty red fruit aromatics. Cannonau di Sardegna "Le Bombarde" 2017 is full of ripe plum flavors, Yalumba Old Bush Vine Grenache 2018 from Australia's Barossa Valley is rich and concentrated while still being soft. Try it with Mustard Turkey Burgers fresh off the grill.