While we're in the dog days of summer, when the average high is in the 90s, it's tempting to dismiss red wine altogether. But if you're serving up barbecued beef, Chardonnay ain't going to cut. Lighter reds are the ticket—ones with forward fruit and little or no tannins. You want wines that can be served lightly chilled and Beaujolais, made from the supple Gamay Noir grape, fits the bill. Here are the panel's top picks:
2014 Domaine des Braves Regnie, $17
Regnie is one of 10 regions in Beaujolais entitled to the cru designation—a step up from a Villages wine—which in turn is a step up from simple Beuajolais. This wine's dusty rose petal and cherry aromas reminded one panelist of Bazooka Joe bubble gum. The palate is deep, dark and brooding with candied plum and chocolate covered cherries. Bring on the burgers.
2014 Domaine Robert-Denogent Cuvee Jules Chauvet Beaujolais-Villages, $30
Rich and creamy cherry fruit dominates the nose. The palate, exhibiting a silky texture, is light, lively and elegantly structured, offering more creamy cherry and a hint of fennel on the finish. Performs well beyond the Villages wine level and is priced accordingly.
2013 Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais-Villages, $13
Duboeuf is one of the most prolific producers and negociants (merchants) in the region, earning him the title King of Beaujolais. The candied fruit and red licorice aromas here are colored by dark flowers and a bit of raisin. The berry pie and sweet cherry flavors are matched by bright acidity, with notes of spice on the smooth finish. A great buy on a fruit forward, crowd pleaser.