You Don’t Just Drink Red Wine in Wintertime: Summer Reds to Get You Through the Season

It may not be your instinct to grab a bottle of red wine on the way to your next summer barbecue, beach day, or dinner al fresco. The fact remains, however, that red wine is every bit as welcome at the table in summer as it is in the fall and winter. The warmer and more humid it gets, the fewer we tend to follow generally accepted rules regarding wine temperature and composition. A lightly chilled Pinot Noir, for example, will cool you off nicely without hiding any of its delicate nuances and still satisfy your craving for silky tannins.

Here are five wines to sniff, sip and yes, even lightly chill, all season long. If you’re looking for pairings for every palate, appetite and occasion, we’ve included pointers to inspire you. After all, why should whites and rosés should get all the summer love?

Davies Family Pinot Noir, Nobles Vineyard, Fort Ross-Seaview, Sonoma Coast – 2015

When drinking red wine in hot weather, consider a bottle that’s light in color but robust in flavor. Pinor Noir may not be the first wine you think of when pairing with summer’s bounty from the sea, but stands up remarkably well to grilled oily fish like swordfish and cod, as well as iron-rich shellfish like clams and mussels. The iron levels in these bivalves helps bring out the fruitier tones in Davies Family Pinot Noir: peak-season strawberry, blackberry, tart cherry, and white pepper.

Biondi Santi Brunello di Montalcino DOCG Riserva – 2011

It’s not quite summer until a hefty, well-marbled steak hits the grill and makes that inimitable sizzling noise. You’ll need a hefty, well-marbled red wine to pair with it—look no further than Biondi Santi Brunello di Montalcino DOCG Riserva 2011. This is the wine to drink for that hot weather special occasion with the best grilled beef you can find: try it alongside a Porterhouse or Kobe ribeye. Black pepper notes mingle with bark, red fruit, and a hint of citrus for the perfect complement.

Chene Bleu Abélard, Vin de Pays du Vaucluse – 2010

Pairing fine wine with fancy burgers is all the rage, and the trend isn’t going away any time soon—it’s peak fancy burger season right now, in fact. Create a custom burger blend (chuck and brisket make a great patty) and top your creation with nutty, mineral-inflected Gruyere cheese for a perfect pairing to Chene Bleu Abélard 2010. The wine’s lavender notes add fragrance to the cheese and astringency to the fatty beef, and the sweetness of lingering blackberry pairs perfectly with both cheese and beef.

Grieve Family Winery: Merlot, Napa Valley – 2012

This wine is another one to bring to the barbecue: it pairs beautifully with grilled pork, lamb chops, and portobello mushrooms. Notes of tart stone fruit and orange zest cut the richness while adding welcome fruity notes to two meats (and a hearty vegetable) known for fruit-friendliness and mingling seamlessly with smoke, salt, and dried herbs.

Arista Winery Pinot Noir, Ferrington Vineyard, Anderson Valley – 2015

The roasted almond flavor in this oaky Pinot Noir coincides perfectly with mid- to late-summer almond season in Mendocino County, where this wine hails from. If you go the fish route, consider seared or grilled trout almondine. For meat, a sweet and savory honey-almond chicken and for vegetables, a watermelon and feta salad with chopped nuts for texture. The wine’s juicy mid-palate, with notes of fresh cherry and black plum, supports your decision unconditionally.

Alexandra Schrecengost, August 21, 2018
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August 21, 2018

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