Despite the heat, even in the summer, some wine lovers prefer red over white. And that’s what makes the world go round, right? Don’t judge a wine by its color, experts recommend these top 4 red wine varieties for chilling out when the heat is on.
Many experts say no-no to red wine in the summer, subscribing to the theory that it’s too heavy to drink in the heat. Others gasp at the mere thought of chilling red wine. It’s true that many full-bodied, tannic reds simply may not be as enjoyable when paired with heat and humidity.
But we say that you, the wine lover, are in charge of your own wine destiny. Read on as experts from The Royal Wine Corp. weigh in on top 4 red wine varieties for summer sipping — and chilling!
Yes to Red Wine in Summer!
Au contraire! According to the experts at The Royal Wine Corp., some delicious reds can and should be served slightly chilled. They’re light and refreshing enough to share a place at the picnic table with whites and rosés. In fact, these reds are perfect companions to traditional summer fare like grilled steaks, BBQ ribs, and burgers.
The top four varieties of red wine particularly suited to the (hot) dog days of summer are Pinot Noirs, Cabernet Francs, Tempranillos, and Tintos. Gabriel Geller, Director of Public Relations and Client Services/ Wine Education, Royal Wine Co., recommends chilling them to accompany warm-weather menus.
Since red wines are made from dozens of different kinds of grapes, Geller says it’s up to the winemaker to decide what style he or she wants to achieve. “Wines can be made light or heavy, depending in large part to the type of grapes being used. Some kinds of grapes develop more tannins – compounds in the skin, stem, and seed that give wine its dryness and acidity – which impact the resulting wine.”
Top 4 Red Wine Varieties for Summer Sipping
Royal Wine advises consumers to for these 4 red wine varieties as your go-to summer favorites when planning a BBQ on the patio, a day at the beach, or just a relaxed get-together with friends and family.
1. Summer Red Wine: Pinot Noir
Pinot Noir is a grape with a very thin skin, and is thus less tannic than Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Merlot. Wines made from this variety are usually light-bodied, elegant and delicate.
“Serve Pinot Noir at about 65 degrees,” suggests Geller. “It pairs perfectly with chicken, veal, or salmon.”
One favorite is the Baron Herzog Pinot Noir, featuring flavors of currants, tart raspberries, and dark chocolate. “It’s not only a very enjoyable wine,” Geller says, “but also a fantastic value.”
2. Chilled Red Wine Varietal: Cabernet Franc
A chilled Cabernet Franc such as the Domaine du Val Brun Samur-Champigy is an ideal companion to casual outdoor fare like cold cuts, charcuterie, and grilled vegetables. A light- to medium-bodied wine from the Loire Valley in France, it has a bouquet of violets and strawberries with a hint of earth and spice.
Geller adds, “This wine, like the Baron Herzog, also represents tremendous value.”
3. Spanish Red Wine: Grenache
Garnacha or Garnatxa (Grenache), a variety grown primarily in Spain and in the south of France, is highly versatile in that it can be bold and heavy or restrained and refined. The
The Capçanes Peraj Petita, produced at the highly regarded Celler de Capçanes in Montsant, Spain, has interesting and somewhat unusual flavors. Geller describes it as medium-bodied with hints of cherries, roasted meats, minerals, and espresso, and says it pairs perfectly with smoked meats, dried salami, and grilled vegetables.
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4. Red Wine of Summer: Tinto
Tinto de verano (literally “red wine of summer”), another chilled red, is a light, medium-bodied cousin of Sangria. Elvi, a Spanish brand of quality kosher wines, creates a budget-friendly Tinto blend.
Elvi Vina Encina Tinto carries flavors of cranberries, licorice, and smoke, and has a moderate alcohol content.
Geller calls this well-balanced blend ideal for the warm weather and “quite food-friendly. It’s versatile enough to complement to Mediterranean dishes like grilled chicken with pesto, although it also marries well with a big, juicy burger.”
What are your favorite red wine varietals for summer sipping? Share with us in the comments below!
More about Royal Wine Corp.
The above recommendations are courtesy of Royal Wine Corp. founded in 1848, owned and operated in the United States by the Herzog family. Their portfolio of domestic and international wines hail from nearly every significant wine-producing region in the world including California, France, Italy and Spain, as well as Israel, New Zealand and Argentina.