Gamay & Cinsault
Sure, you can chill any red wine, but some varieties just lend themselves much better. Gamay's (think Beaujolais or Oregon) lighter body and red fruits usually taste divine with a slight chill. (Avoid a more robust Gamay like the one in our bottle shop.) The bright red fruits of a Cinsault also make a refreshing, chilled, summer red.
Zweigelt and Blaufränkish
If you need something a bit more robust, but still chillable, look no further than Austria's Zweigelt or Blaufrankish (Lemberger). These food-friendly, fruit-forward wines can taste surprisingly nice after time on the ice. And they are usually quite easy on the budget, too.
TIP 1: Look for more lighter bodied or fruit-forward wines. Save the medium to high tannin wines like Syrah or Cabernet Sauvignon for the sunset dinner table.
TIP 2: You don't need to go as cold when chilling a red as you normally would a crisp white. Even a half hour in ice can make a choice red more summer-friendly.
Pinot Nero (Italian Pinot Noir) & Grenache
I personally don't love either of these wines chilled, but their lighter style and low tannins make them summer friendly. Pinot Nero (Pinot Noir from Italy) or even some Sonoma Valley Pinots fit especially well with a summer soiree. The silky red fruits of a Grenache, can be so smooth on a summer day. But, be careful with this one, as Grenache can often pack a fairly high alcohol by volume punch.
FOR THE SUNSET TABLE
Syrah, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon Blends
Is your mantra "Go Big or Go Home?" You can still go bold in summer. As soon as the hot sun starts to fade, and the dinner table gets set, grill-friendly wines can take their seat back at the table. Dishes like steaks, burgers, lamb, and bbq ribs find their match in meaty Syrahs, rich Malbecs and robust Cabernet/Merlot-based blends.
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