5 Red Wines to Reach For This Summer

As the sweltering heat of summer is quickly approaching, your wine buys may tend to be white, but don’t miss out on these amazing red wines that are great in the heat and perfect pairs for picnics in the park and backyard BBQs.

1. Rosé

Some of the best rosés in the world come from an appellation in the southern Rhône wine region of France: Tavel. Their rosé is made with red grapes, pressed to remove the juice from the skins after about 24-48 hours of maceration. They blend heavier must with a lighter one for the perfect powerful and intense ruby red rosé that stands up flawlessly to BBQ chicken or pork or grilled game birds.

One of our favorites is the Tavel Château d’Aquéria 2012. It’s a gorgeous color with complex notes of red berries, viscous and chewy with pleasing mineral aromas.

2. Beaujolais

Beaujolais is another French wine that, despite the general rule regarding red serving temperature, is best when chilled. It’s a young red wine of the Gamay grape, with a light body, high acidity and low tannins. Just be sure not to buy a Beaujolais Noveau in the summer, as it’s released in the third Thursday of November and most are meant to be enjoyed before the following May. Beaujolais is one of the more versatile and forgiving wines to accompany food. It’s a great example of a red that can be an interchangeable alternative to traditionally white wine pairings. It goes wonderfully with many foods, from scallops to NY strip steaks.

We love the Jean-Paul Brun Domaine des Terres Dorees Beaujolais Ancien Vieilles Vignes. This wine is produced from Jean-Paul's oldest vines, which have fewer, smaller grapes with a more concentrated flavor. Jean-Paul’s are some of the most critically acclaimed and consistent of the Beaujolais. It has brightness and lift, tartly refreshing yet ripe cherry and blackberry fruit. Bittersweet and toasty nuttiness combine with flowery perfumes for a delicious complexity.

3. Dolcetto

From the Piedmont region of Italy, the “little sweet one” is light and fruity, with a touch of anise and tart cherry nuances that marry well with a picnic basket of sourdough baguette, sharp cheddar and cold cuts, especially salami with strong flavors of garlic and black pepper.

The 2010 E. Pira & Figli Dolcetto d’Alba is delightfully youthful, though not necessarily young, and is perfect to be enjoyed this year.

4. Brachetto d’Acqui

Another winner from Piedmont, the town of Acqui, is an exciting red bubbly made from the aromatic Brachetto grape. Though somewhat pale, it’s far too amply red to be considered a rosé, and it comes in two different bubbly styles: spumante, which is strongly bubbly or frizzante, which is slightly less fizzy.

The 2010 Rosa Regale has a vivid light garnet color, an intense bouquet of red flowers, and toasted almonds. Inside the mouth it exudes lush raspberries, wild strawberries and nuances of pistachio and nutmeg. Serve this wine well chilled alongside spicy spare ribs off the grill and a light summery dessert, such as strawberry shortcake.

5. Syrah (Shiraz in Australia)

If summer to you means juicy grilled steaks, thick burgers, and smoked meats, reach for an unforgettable Syrahs of the Northern Côtes Du Rhône region. The fruity yet peppery and smoky flavors make for a hearty complement to more robust summer meals. Soy-based marinades with flavors such as garlic, ginger, scallions, lemon grass, and/or star anise will also bring out Syrah's dark berry and plum flavors.

Domaine Auguste Clape Cornas is a great example of a meaty Syrah that gets more and more exciting as it opens up and breathes.

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