When you think of red wine, do you think of those hot summer days when you need a drink to quench your thirst? Or do you think about curling up by a fire in mid-December with a book and a glass of your favorite Sauvignon? Probably the latter, right?
A summer red can be surprisingly satisfying if you know which ones to look for. A Cabernet Sauvignon or a Merlot, for example, might be too heavy for the warm weather, but there is no shortage of others to be considered.
When getting down to the nitty-gritty, most wine experts agree that summer wines should never include those with more than 14 percent alcohol, as they can be overbearing in the heat. Luca Delogu, owner of Miami Mediterranean restaurant Panarea, additionally advises against wines high in tannins, such as recent vintage Bordeaux, Borlos, and Cabernets from Napa Valley. He says their bitterness will often become exacerbated in the summer, and to instead look for wines coming from cooler climates, like Pinot Noir, Cabernet Francs, or Tempranillo-based wines from Spain. French wines, in particular, are among the best for the season.
As far as reds made in the Northern Rhône style go, you can’t go wrong with the 2015 Côtes du Rhône Rouge ($15). One of the world’s best value red wines, this full-bodied, aromatically intense Syrah is best enjoyed with barbeque flavors and spices, so gather your family and friends for a cookout ASAP!
Delogu recommends the Côtes du Rhône from France: “These wines are fruit-driven but also subtle and sensual. They are the anti-Cabernet, never ponderous or overly complicated.”
By contrast, the 2017 Young Red ($16), the first vintage of Bonterra Organic Vineyards, adheres to the Grenache-base we are more accustomed to seeing with lighter wines. With aromas of red roses, fig, red berries, and orange peel, and a palate of raspberries, watermelon rind, and pomegranate, this wine blossoms into a lively flavor once served chilled.
Another good choice is the 2015 Saint-Joseph Rouge ($35), which is layered with gentle flavors of red berries and oak aromas that pair nicely with grilled meat.
And lastly, if you are looking for a heavier wine, we recommend the Bonterra 2015 Merlot ($16). A combination of dark berries and wood smoke, it is the perfect red to accompany meats right off the grill. It has an elegant style and balance, soft tannins and a long finish, with hints of plum and vanilla spice.
Looking to incorporate any of these reds into the perfect sangria? Time to break out some citrus!
Classic Spanish Sangria
- 1 750ml bottle of dry red wine
- 1 lemon
- 1 lime
- 1 orange
- 1 ½ cups of rum
- ½ cup of white sugar
- 1 cup of orange juice