Food & Drink » Winesipper

Chillin’ with Summer Reds


Nothing against roses or whites, but sometimes, even in the summer, it has to be red. We’re not talking big Syrahs or Zins. When the heat is on, what you want is a lighter, no-tannin wine—one that works well with a bit of a chill. But you don’t want them icy; an hour in the fridge will do. Here are the panel’s top three summer picks:

2017 Fatalone Primitivo Teres, $18.99
Okay, Primitivo is Zinfandel’s first cousin, so how can it make a light summer red? This Italian entry uses grapes from the vine’s second budding (racemi). The extra stalk that’s typically pruned off, when left, produces a more delicate juice. That, and limited skin contact, results in a light, ruby-colored wine with enticing strawberry and rhubarb aromas. Ripe currant flavors are balanced by bright cranberry, with an edgy minerality. This ultimately refreshing charmer was a rare, unanimous No. 1 panel pick.

2016 Louis Jadot Beaujolais-Villages, $14.99
From one of the best-known producers in Burgundy, this 100 percent Gamay Noir is soft and elegantly structured. Bright cherry and berry aromas dominate the nose, and supple strawberry and sweet plum flavors play against a core of crisp acidity. A light chill brings that bite down a notch in this food-friendly choice.

2017 Willamette Valley Vineyards Whole Cluster Pinot Noir, $22
With whole cluster, the fermentation is through carbonic maceration, which naturally occurs inside the unpressed grapes. It softens the Pinot, making it a great chillable choice. Dark berry aromas segue into creamy, chocolate-laced blackberry flavors. Racy, lightly tart cherry adds grip to the finish.