There’s nothing like putting your feet up on a hot summer day and opening up a bottle of…..red wine.
Red wine isn’t the most seasonal of beverages in the summertime, but a recent Drizly consumer report pointed out that this summer, respondents were way more excited to uncork a bottle of red wine over rosé or white.
Which is odd. In the hot heat — July 4th was the hottest day in over 100,000 years— the last thing one would gravitate towards is a big bottle of Bordeaux or a broad shoulder sip from Spain.
“The idea that red wine can be refreshing is nothing new, but everyone certainly got the memo recently, especially when it comes to chilling them!” says Megan Mina, Beverage Director of The Restaurant at Zero George in Charleston. “Chillable reds are becoming more mainstream than ever before. Many restaurants and wine bars serve a chilled red by the glass and the retail sector has focused on easier drinking styles fit for summer.”
“While outdoor temperatures in the summer ramp up and seem to call for cold beverages and crisp wine, there is absolutely a place on the table and in the glass for reds year-round,” says Morgan Calcote, General Manager and Beverage Director of FIG in Charleston. “A bright, lighter red is a great thing to keep in the fridge for when you want red wine flavors with a chill to cool you down.”
“BBQ can pair really well with fuller bodied reds,” continues Calcote. “Boldly season slow cooked, grilled or smoked proteins call for similarly bold flavors in wine pairings. Rhone Valley is a go to for Grenache based blend or a 100% Syrah from the Northern Rhone. Spanish Tempranillo from Rioja, Bordeaux or fuller bodied Cabernet Franc with beef barbeque. Sangiovese is a great option too.”
Convinced? Here are sommeliers’ top reds to sip through the summer.
Martin & Anna Arndorfer “Rosa Marie” Kamptal, AU
“Coferments, or wines made by fermenting red and white grapes together in various configurations, have revolutionized the rosé category. Over in Austria (one of the world’s hot beds for experimental natural wines!) Martin & Anna Arndorfer have been pushing the envelope for what’s possible in the Kamptal region, known for their rigorously maintained standards for Grüner Veltliner production. ‘Rosa Marie’ is made by fermenting red grapes (Zweigelt) on the skins of white grapes (Gruner), which gives the wine an earthy, burnished texture that frames its vivacious red fruit so so elegantly. These bottles are brilliant examples of winemakers exploring the infinite possibilities of their land and doing so in a manner that’s both sustainable and approachable.” — Ian Garrity, Sommelier, elNico
Martha Stoumen Nero d’Avola
“Martha, Martha, Martha! This rose is sooo good. Nero d’Avola is a Sicilian variety that typically makes juicy Malbec-esque wines turned California rose. This is cherry pie and raspberry punch in a glass, patio pounder, lunch alfresco, sitting by the pool, shower wine! this one checks all of the boxes for summer. We just poured our last bottle this past week and I will be waiting for the next release like it’s Christmas morning.” — Felicia Jefferson, Wine and Service Director at The Duck & The Peach in Washington, DC
Amorotti Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo, Abruzzo 2020
“Run by Gaetano Carboni, whose family has been farming this property for generations, Amorotti has quickly established itself as one of the great producers of Abruzzo. Located in the village of Loreto Aprutino (famed for the wines of Valentini), Amorotti produces a Cersuolo d’Abruzzo that combines power and intensity, with savory herbs, sun-warmed blood citrus and an incredibly long finish.” — Jason Alexander, Wine Director of Che Fico in San Francisco, CA
Cirelli Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo DOC Anfora
“What a wonderful rosato from Francisco Cirelli. Cirelli makes a regular rosato but this one — aged in big clay anfora — is worth finding. De-stemmed and rested in anfora pots before being pressed into anfora for the fermentation process. The clay pots give the rostato this beautiful texture with notes of pomegranate and pink flowers. My absolute favorite rosato!” — Matthew Brodbine, Wine Director of Pasjoli, Santa Monica, CA
“Deep, dark rosés…I’m fully in love with this genre-bending category. Two favorites on our list currently: ICARO’s ‘Rosario’ from Lazio which is actually a co-fermentation of white and red grapes: Trebbiano, Malvasia, and Nero Buono. There is an energy to this bottle which gives a slight tingle on the tongue and a salty, lightly-balsamic finish that makes it incredibly delicious when paired with food. The volcanic soil of Lazio just outside of Rome comes through in the most incredibly super-charged way.” – Bethany Heinze, co-owner and beverage director of Vern’s in Charleston, SC
Sergio Drago Rosa
“Sergio Drago’s Rosa is perfect for someone looking for a rose with so much more. Sergio Drago is a young winemaker trained by the legendary Sicilian natural winemaker Alessandro Viola. He’s located in Alcamo, Sicily, a very dry, hot part of the island known mainly for bulk wine, but Sergio produces wines organically and with little to no intervention. Made with Nero d’Avola grapes, this deep fuschia rose is the perfect balance of juicy, savory, earthy, and refreshing.” — Libby Burk, wine director and general manager of Common Thread
“This is a fun ‘natural’ wine that’s best drank fresh and young. It is made using the lesser known Brachetto varietal` and has great dark fruit and a bit of a cloudy hue to it with young candied fruit and a fun tangy finish. This is an old favorite of mine for summer time, a great fun park hang bottle than can stand up to a great fun dinner party. This has been a go-to for me; I have fond memories with this wine hanging in Dolores park in San Francisco and hanging out with the cool kids at Division wines in Portland Oregon (plus we recently featured it on our list).” — Sommelier Josh Nebenzahl from Sushi | Bar Austin
Feudo Montoni “Rose di Adele” Rosé Sicilia DOC
“Consumers looking for a rosé with some character should look for rosés made from Nerello Mascalese. This variety, native to Sicily, is most commonly used for red wines, but some small winemakers also produce a rosé version of it, offering consumers a rare wine with an intense nose of red berries and an intriguing palate. Made from 100% Nerello Mascalese, this is a great example. Fabio Sireci is among those producers who are offering curious wine lovers the chance to enjoy their savory rosé made from this rare variety. Produced in Cammarata (Agrigento), from 40-year old vines grown 600 meters above sea level, “Rose di Adele” Sicilia DOC rosé exudes aromas of pink rose petals and violets along with hints of black pepper, blackberries, pomegranate and strawberries. On the palate, it has a pleasant astringency, a good structure, and is fresh, persistent and sapid.— Jeffrey Porter, Hospitality & Beverage Consultant, Sommelier, Educator and Host, with over 22 years of experience in retail and restaurants, including Del Posto in NYC.