Cool Reds for the Hot Days Ahead
A crisp white wine or a fruity rose is one of the many pleasures of summer. But don’t forget, there are plenty of red wines that are just as enjoyable throughout the warm spring and summer months. Look for reds that are:
with minimal tannins,
with lower alcohol,
with higher acidity,
and where primary fruit flavors dominate.
Such reds can be enjoyed with a chill and play well with lighter summer dishes. What’s more, such wines are often inexpensive. Below are a few general suggestions.
If you love cherry notes and rose petal hints, then pinot noir is for you. Some pinots, especially the pricey ones, can be full-bodied and quite tannic. So look for lower priced ones - deals from Oregon and California are easy to find. Lighter bodied and bursting with fruit flavors, inexpensive pinots were made for warm weather.
Ever have a Beaujolais? Then you’ve enjoyed gamay! Offering strawberries, raspberries, bananas, even violets, a gamay wine is all about fun and upfront fruit. And they go great with charcuterie as well as with one of summer’s greatest pleasures - cold cuts sandwiches, especially Jambon Beurre or Italian subs!
From the Piedmonte (a region in northwestern Italy), dolcetto means “little sweet one” in the local dialect. And a sweet one it is! Moderately tannic and acidic, with dark berry notes and plum flavors, this easygoing Italian red truly lives up to its name.
This is another Piedmontese red wine whose best examples can set you back a few dollars. Just grab one of the less expensive examples. Low in tannins, but with markedly higher acidity than dolcetto, a barbera offers tart black cherries and blackberries, as well as vanilla and even nutmeg. Its acidity makes it especially refreshing and a great food wine to boot!
Cabernet franc is one of the parents of cabernet sauvignon, so you’d be forgiven if you thought its vines yielded full-bodied, structured reds. Quite the contrary. Wines made with cabernet franc are lighter bodied, with fine tannins and a mouthwatering acidity. The features that cab francs share with cabernet sauvignons are intense fruit flavors and a leafy savor.
From northeastern Italy. Be sure to look for an inexpensive Valpolicella. Like the suggestions above, a Valpolicella is lighter bodied, low in tannins, and marked by a refreshing acidity; and features strawberries, tart red cherries, and even chocolate. This will shine with salumi, an Italian sub, or a roast beef sandwich.