The perfect summer red wines are typically lighter in body and served slightly chilled. These wines are often high in acidity, which gives them a refreshing quality that can be particularly enjoyable on a hot day. The acidity in wine is what makes your mouth water and can make the wine feel lighter and more refreshing. Wines with high acidity are often described as crisp or tart, and they can be a great match for summer foods, particularly anything grilled or served with a tangy sauce.


The current trend in summer red wines is leaning towards lighter, fruitier, and more refreshing varieties. These wines are often served slightly chilled, which can enhance their refreshing qualities. Some of the popular choices include Pinot Noir, Grenache, and Gamy. These wines are known for their bright fruit flavors and light to medium body, making them perfect for warmer weather.


Another characteristic of a great summer red wine is a lower tannin level. Tannins are naturally occurring compounds that come from the skins, seeds, and stems of grapes. They can give wine a bitter taste and a dry, puckering sensation in the mouth. While tannins can add complexity and structure to a wine, they can also make a wine feel heavier and more robust. In the summer, when you might be looking for something more refreshing, a wine with lower tannins can be a better choice.


Red wines that are perfect for summer also tend to have bright, fruity flavors. Think of red fruits like strawberries, raspberries, and cherries, rather than the darker, more brooding flavors of blackberries, plums, and chocolate that you might find in a heavier red wine. These lighter, brighter flavors can be more refreshing and are often a better match for summer foods.


The alcohol content of the wine can also play a role. Wines with a higher alcohol content can feel heavier and can also be more warming, which might not be what you're looking for on a hot summer day. Instead, look for wines with a lower alcohol content, which can be more refreshing and easier to drink in the heat.



How does the choice of red wine vary with different summer foods or occasions?


The choice of red wine can significantly vary with different summer foods and occasions. Lighter red wines, such as Pinot Noir or Grenache, are often favored during the summer months due to their bright acidity and lower tannin levels. These wines can be served slightly chilled and pair well with lighter summer fare like grilled chicken, salmon, or fresh salads. They also work well for casual summer get-togethers or picnics.


However, if you're serving grilled robust meats like steak or lamb, you might want to opt for a more full-bodied red like a Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah. These wines have the structure and flavor intensity to stand up to hearty, flavorful dishes. They're also a good choice for more formal summer occasions, as they tend to be perceived as more sophisticated.


For a summer barbecue or cookout, Zinfandel can be a great choice. Known for its bold, fruit-forward flavors and high alcohol content, Zinfandel pairs well with grilled meats and spicy barbecue sauces. It's a casual, approachable wine that's perfect for a laid-back summer evening.


Beaujolias, a light-bodied red wine from France, is another excellent choice for summer. It's typically served chilled, making it refreshing on a hot day. Beaujolais pairs well with a wide range of summer foods, from grilled vegetables to fish and poultry. It's also a good choice for summer parties, as it's generally well-liked and easy to drink.


Finally, if you're bartending at a summer wedding or other special occasion, consider a high-quality red blend or a vintage red wine. These wines are often complex and elegant, making them a good match for a special event. They can pair well with a variety of foods, depending on the specific blend or vintage.