Bored with all the blancs and rosés you’ve been sipping all summer? You’re not alone. We’re craving bigger, bolder bottlings during these dog days of summer, so we’re popping the corks of some of our favorite chilled reds. Yes, reds can be enjoyed at cool temperatures—they just have to be the right ones. Here’s what to look for:
1. Choose a recent vintage. These youthful, ready-to-drink wines provide the refreshing, primary fruit flavors that go with summer like iced plum, frosted cherry and breezy berries.
2. Go for unoaked. Stay away from super-oaked wines that feel heavy on the palate and overpower the fruit.
3. Light-bodied is best. Heavy tannin and high alcohol wines don’t take well to chilling. Look for low-tannin grapes like Pinot Noir, Grenache, Mencía or Merlot. Also, aim for bottlings with less than 13.5% abv.
4. Think Italy. The Italians know a thing or two about chilled reds. The country offers countless light-bodied, unoaked options like Bardolino, Brachetto, Dolcetto, Frappato, Lambrusco and Schiava.
5. Go classic. Beaujolais and unoaked Cabernet Francs from the Loire Valley are excellent chilled.
6. By chill, we mean 54°F. This is roughly the same temperature you’d chill a full-bodied, oaky white wine. Just remove the bottle from the fridge 30 minutes before serving.
7. Experiment with pairings. Chilled reds match deliciously with charcuterie, barbecued salmon, duck burgers, lamb chops and mushroom kebabs. So pull them out at the dinner table, too.
Try These Bottles:
Stoller 2013 Pinot Noir (Dundee Hills), 91 points
Henry Fessy 2012 Moulin-à-Vent, 89 points
Cantina di Sorbara NV Nicchia Amabile (Lambrusco di Sorbara), 86 points
Nicosia 2013 Fondo Filara Frappato (Sicilia), 88 points
Prada A Tope 2013 Palacio de Canedo Maceración Ecológico Mencía (Bierzo), 86 points