The weather so far this year clearly has been atypical, but assuming that it does actually get hot this summer, you may reflexively switch to beverages other than red wine, particularly if you’re drinking outside. I can understand why some of you may switch to white wines (or even flavorful craft beers) during the peak of the heat, but if you’re a die-hard red wine lover (like me), I want to help you choose reds that are more suitable to the summer season.
However, before I recommend certain types of wines, I want to make sure you’re not making red wine drinking an even “hotter” experience than it should be. Lots of folks (including restaurant staff who should know better) routinely serve red wines at room temperature, but this is not ideal at any time of the year. Reds generally should be served at about 62˚F (and certain varietals are fine even a bit cooler), so bottles that are stored at room temperature need a stop in the refrigerator before they’re served. If you’re used to consuming them at room temperature, you may be pleasantly surprised to discover that red wines (when served properly) really aren’t so unpleasant in the heat.
As for the best red varietals for summer drinking, there are actually quite a few options that you may want to consider, including the following:
- Un-oaked Grenache from Spain is fermented in stainless steel, leaving it fruity, fresh, and dry
- Beaujoulais from France, which features bright red fruit notes and is low on tannins, is a nice candidate for picnics and cookouts
- Pinot Noir from New Zealand is typically lighter than California versions, making it a good alternative for the summer
- Since this blog is focused on American reds, I need to include at least one domestic option here, and young, fruity Merlots from California certainly can work well (but you’ll want to avoid more full-bodied examples)
- I’ll also suggest Syrahs from Washington state, which due to the cooler climate there tend to be lighter than their California counterparts.
Do you have any other favorite Red Wines for the Summer? Share your comments.