We’re all praying for that anticipated transition from torrid heat to a few crisp fall breezes, but in the meantime, red wine that has been stored improperly might be difficult to swallow. In case you haven’t heard, all – especially high-end – wines should be stored at cellar temp (55-65 degrees Fahrenheit). With no cellar, you can still chill red wines before serving to achieve that ideal refreshing sip.
By chill, we mean a half-hour in the fridge. (Or, check out the Vinglacé.) While chilling fruity, sweet wine can improve its flavor by toning down the sugar and bringing forward the fruit, some dryer reds like a Cabernet Franc, Grenache, and Cotes du Rhone also take well to a cooldown, especially during summer. Seek less complex Pinot Noir, Beaujolais, young Texas Tempranillo, Sangiovese, Italian Dolcetto and Barbera, and fruitier Spanish wines. Avoid Cabernet or a Shiraz – both have lots of tannins – because chilling will make it very unpleasant.
Santa Julia Tintillo
A fresh new blend of Malbec and Bonarda, this low tannin red with raspberry, cherry, violet and herbaceous notes from Argentina is a perfect patio refresher, picnic companion, or aperitif. Serve chilled along with sunny days, burgers, mild cheeses, baby back ribs and barbecue brisket.
Price: $13 Buy it: Whole Foods Market
Louis Jadot Beaujolais Villages 2015
Loaded with lots of fleshy raspberry and cherry fruit both on the nose and the palate. Notes of spice and black pepper add complexity to the vibrant finish. Good match with poultry, brats, grilled salmon and pork.
Price: $13 Buy it or try it: Spec’s, Total Wines & More, Kroger, HEB, Central Market, Bistro Provence, Etoile
Ravenswood Old Vine Zinfandel Sonoma County 2014
Created by “Godfather of Zin” Joel Peterson, this selection offers deep aromas of cassis, black currant, cherries and spice tones, and balanced oak. Palate flavors include ripe cherries, vanilla, cocoa and fine herbs, easily pairing with spice rubbed chicken and zesty barbecue slathered pork ribs.
Price: $18 Buy it or try it: Spec’s, Total Wine, Kroger, Fleming’s, Armadillo Palace
Llano Estacado Sweet Red, Texas
Ripe blackberry and raspberry flavors and aromas in a blend of Syrah, Merlot and Cabernet. Lush, generous texture with silky tannins. Finishes with a note of mint and herbs. A perfect match with jambalaya, gumbo, fajitas, Asian dishes, and some dark berry desserts.
Price: $7 Buy it: Specs, Total Wine & More
Kendall Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Pinot Noir 2015, California
This dark garnet wine delivers bright cherry, strawberry and raspberry fruit with elegant earthy notes and mild spice accents. Oak aging adds a hint of vanilla and a toasty finish. Pair with pork tenderloin, pasta with wild mushrooms, grilled seafood and glazed chicken.
Price: $20 Buy it or try it: Spec’s, Richards, Total Wine, Truluck’s, Picos
Cambiata Rail 2 Rail Old Vine Zinfandel 2014, Lodi, California
Ripe and plummy on the nose while the palate is spicy, rich and warm. The silky texture is well-balanced and it’s a match for grilled steak, pork chops, spicy sausage pizza, and grilled portobello mushrooms.
Price: $16.99 Buy it: Total Wine & More, Spec’s, Reef
Ferrari-Carano Siena, Sonoma, 2014
Ferrari-Carano’s Italian heritage is reflected in this Sangiovese-Malbec, easy-sipping, multi-dimensional blend. Supple and ripe with heady fruit aromas and flavors of cranberry, strawberry and cherry complemented by cinnamon, nutmeg and cocoa. Pair it with tomato-based pastas, duck confit or smoked salmon salad.
Price: $18 Buy it or try it: Total Wine & More, Damian’s, The Tasting Room, Carrabba’s
Banfi Rosa Regale Brachetto d’Acqui
Fresh raspberry, strawberry and rose flavors leap from the glass of this Italian favorite. Slightly frizzante with a zippy acidity and clean finish. Bring it out at brunch.
Price: $9 Buy it or try it: Spec’s, Kroger, Carmelo’s