Chill Out With Summertime Reds
By Michelle Miller and Jameson Fink.
Summer is upon us and as things heat up it’s nice to chill out with a cold, crisp white wine or rosé. But if you’re a red wine drinker, don’t despair. There are many summer friendly red grapes you can enjoy with a chill. What better way to see how the red wines you love are transformed into summer sippers with a short stint in the refrigerator or an ice bath.
Here’s how: add a bottle of red to your ice bucket of white wines for ten minutes or park it in the fridge for an hour. Wondering what grapes to check out? Try these three that do particularly well with a slight chill, or ask your local wine merchant for their summer red wine secrets.
Pinot Noir Everyone loves Pinot! In the spirit of summer, have some fun with this versatile varietal and try a Pinot Noir from a region that’s new to you! You usually can’t go wrong with a Pinot from California, Oregon, France, or New Zealand. Lighter bodied Pinots are naturally chill so an ice bath will add a refreshing zing, while richer, bolder Pinots become summer-friendly and more approachable when served at lower temperatures.
Gamay If you love Pinot Noir, you owe it to yourself to try Gamay. Don’t let the unfamiliar name scare you away…these grapes are practically sisters, with plenty of fruit and an easygoing personality. Look for wines from the Beaujolais region, but go beyond Beaujolais Nouveau which is bottled shortly after harvest and most often served at Thanksgiving. You’ll find that the high acidity and low tannins of a mature Gamay from Beaujolais will lend itself nicely to a good chill and won’t break the bank. Gamay tends to be lighter bodied and lower alcohol content than most reds which may come in handy when you accidentally take swigs rather than sips of your refreshing, cool red on a hot summer day.
Cabernet Franc As a component in big Bordeaux-style blends and powerhouse reds from Napa, Cabernet Franc can be obscured by other grapes. So take a trip to France’s Loire Valley where the grape is center stage in a lighter form, producing wines both summer- and wallet-friendly.
Sangria If all else fails, there’s nothing wrong with mixing up a pitcher of sangria full of fresh fruit from your local farmers market – oranges and lemons work beautifully and in contrast to the red wine they make for perfect presentation. Always a crowd pleaser and easier than you may think, don’t let the endless google search results fool you. It’s as simple as wine, fruit, brandy, sugar, ice. To reduce the tipsy effect, you can skip the brandy or dilute with club soda or 7up if desired. Be sure to use a red wine you’d drink on its own (grenache or pinot noir are great choices) and you are set for blissful patio sipping all summer long.