We seem to have skipped winter altogether this year and I have a hunch that the hot weather isn’t going to wait for summer. So, what do we drink on the patio and by the pool on hot Texas days? White and rosé wines, of course, and just as cold as we can get them, right? Well yes, but there are also a few red grapes that can stand up to the big chill; grapes like Gamay (aka Beaujolais), Tempranillo, and Garnacha. We’ve been taught that we’re not supposed to drink red wines chilled, but even cold I think you’ll find these wines to be enjoyable and refreshing during a summer outing. A word of caution: you don’t want to spend a lot for a summer red because all of its “redness” won’t come through when it’s cold. Given that, before committing to a summer of just whites and rosés, put some Beaujolais, Tempranillo, and Garnacha in the cooler. You’ll find they are fruity, easy to drink and compliment a variety of summer dishes. By the way, in France Garnacha is called Grenache.
George Duboeuf Beaujolais from Beaujolais-Villages
Red Varietal - Gamay
Notes: There is a marked richness and fullness that makes this wine stand apart. An outstanding bouquet of strawberry and black currant tantalize the nose, combined with the velvety soft tannins and concentrated fruit flavors that overpower your palate. A simple, yet caressingly soft and infectiously juicy mouthful of fruit.
A Soft Red – Cost: $ out of $$$$$
Las Rocas Garnacha from Calatayud, Spain
Red Varietal - Garnacha
Notes: A vibrant red color, this Garnacha hints at its rich dark cherry and blackberry aromas and flavors. This well-structured wine integrates nuances of oak with round tannins to deliver a rich palate of decadent fruit flavors.
A Dry Red – Cost: $ out of $$$$$
Marqués de Riscal Tempranillo Reserva from Rioja Alavesa
Red Varietal - Tempranillo 90%, Graciano y Mazuelo 10%
Notes: A dark cherry color with good depth. Balsamic aromas with hints of ripe fruit, complex and spicy. The attack is fresh and light, with soft, rounded tannins. The finish proves persistent with some reminders of toasted oak. An elegant wine, fresh and easy to drink.
A Dry Red – Cost: $$ out of $$$$$