My Best Tips for Choosing and Drinking Red Wine in the Summer

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Despite the heat and humidity some of us still like to drink red wine throughout the summer. Read on for some useful tips on choosing and serving the perfect refreshing summer red wines.

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How To Serve Red Wine in the Summer

One of the most important aspects of any wine is refreshment. This is especially important as the mercury rises, when many red wines can taste overly powerful, rich and heavy. Over the years I have developed a short set of guidelines, which I adhere to over the summer months to best enjoy red wine.

  1. Chill it – This is probably one of the most important guidelines. Pop your bottle of red wine in the refrigerator for about 20 to 30 minutes before serving. You will be amazed at how much more bright and refreshing it will taste.
  2. Unoaked or very lightly oaked – Choose unoaked or very lightly oaked reds. They are generally lighter, fruitier and much more refreshing on these warm summer days.
  3. Moderate alcohol – Watch out for high alcohol wines. Alcohol can affect you more in hot weather. Try to choose wines of 13% and below
  4. Light to medium body – Lighter bodied wines are easier on the palate and much more refreshing than big, full-bodied extracted wines.
  5. Low to medium tannin – Powerful tannic wines can be too much for the palate during the summer. 

Great Red Wines for Summertime

So, what are some of the wines that fit into the set of guidelines? Some of my favorite go-to summer reds are:

  • Valpolicello – From the Veneto region in Northern Italy. Forget Ripasso or Amarone styles. Instead opt for the simple (and great value) Valpolicello normale.
  • Gamay - Beaujolais or other wines made from the Gamay grape
  • Cabernet Franc – especially from the cooler Loire Valley Chinon or Bourgueil appellations
  • Pinot Noir – While some new world Pinot Noir wines can be quite powerful, there is a lot of simple, lighter bodied Pinot to choose from. Carneros, Sonoma Coast, Bourgogne Rouge or village level Burgundy, Red Sancerre or the German Pinot Noir are all good options.
  • Grenache or Grenache based blends from the Rhone Valley or Languedoc in France or California’s central coast. Opt for the simple unoaked wines and watch for alcohol.
  • Austrian reds made from Zweigelt or St. Laurent
  • Dolcetto or Barbera wines from Italy’s Piedmont area
  • Bierzo wines (Mencia grape) from Northwestern Spain.
  • Schiava  - a local grape from Alto Adige in northern Italy makes delicious light bodied reds that are just perfect for summer. 

Wine preferences can be so personal and individual so I would love to hear from you, our readers, on your favorite go-to summer red wines.

Enjoy!

(Images: urbanlight/Shutterstock; Brian A Jackson/Shutterstock)

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