Breaking The Rules // Chillable Summer Reds

It’s 85 degrees, humid, and the deck party crew is making a beeline for the beverage table. You’ve thought ahead: Zingy Sauvignon Blancs for your classy white wine drinkers, gulpable Provencal rosés for the cultured and trendy, as well as a few of those killer summer whites picked out by Leslee from the previous post. But wait–you hear gasps from the crowd as they discover…red wines in the ice bucket?! Sure, your friends are confused and a little taken aback, but they haven’t tasted these reds yet. This is no faux pas. You know what you’re doing. You’re the trendsetter.
It’s a “rule” many of us internalize without much thought: Red wines for winter, whites for summer. But as Leslee says, all wines are good for any time of year! There are other options out there, my friend. Rules are made for breaking!
Many times a light chill on some well-chosen reds can offer as much refreshment as your whites. Here are a few rules of thumb to keep in mind when choosing reds to serve chilled:
1. Choose wines with low tannins, high acidity, and bright, fruity flavors. A nice little chill on your wine will make those fruity flavors “pop” and the high acidity just that much more refreshing.
2. Opt for wines lower in alcohol. The higher the alcohol, the more viscous and full-bodied your wine will be, and we want these chillable reds to be invigorating and fresh, not heavy and clunky. Plus, lower alcohol means more consumption!
Remember: it’s a light chill–not freezing. If your wine is too cold, you won’t be able to taste much of anything. All you need for these reds is about an hour in the fridge before serving, or just a bowl of ice to rest them in.
Step outside the box and try some unique, little-known options! Yes, a familiar wine like Pinot Noir fits all of the guidelines above. But why not venture out into something new and different? You may just stumble upon the next big highlight of your summer get-togethers.
Here are a few unique summer red wine options for your next big summer soiree that will keep your guests humming with excitement:
langhe rosso and frappato
Santa Tresa Frappato
This fruity little number hails from Sicily, although Frappato is commonly grown in many other parts of southern Italy. Light and friendly, it has fresh red fruit notes with a touch of spice on the finish. Smooth and well-balanced, it will wash down anything from veggie kebabs to pizza on the grill.
[Available at France 44 Wines & Spirits and Haskell’s]
Luigi Giordano Langhe Rosso
Want something with a little more substance but that’s just as easy drinking? Try this bold-flavored Piedmontese red. It’s made in an old “field blend” fashion—by blending the red grape Nebbiolo with a small amount of a white grape called Arneis. The result is a well-structured, deliciously drinkable wine with juicy red cherry and cranberry flavors that burst in your mouth.
[Available at South Lyndale Liquors and France 44 Wines & Spirits]
Hopler Pannonica
If salmon’s on your menu but you want to break away from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, skip on over to Austria to give Hopler’s “Pannonica” red blend a try. It gives off a luscious, dark hue in your glass as it wafts up aromas of fresh-picked blackberries and forest floor. There’s just a hint of a green streak running through the palate, making it a great pairing with fresh garden veggies and greens, and anything herb-encrusted. Plus, you can wow your guests with the blend’s ridiculously cool-sounding varietals: Zweigelt, Blaufrankisch and Pinot Noir. (Say them in your best Arnold Schwarzenegger voice.)
[Available at South Lyndale Liquors and France 44 Wines & Spirits]
Now go grab these bottles and give up a cheer for the new, the unique, and the delicious!
–Karina Roe

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