When it comes to wine when the heat is on, I'm drinking a well-chilled rose or a crisp white. But if you just pulled a thick, juicy steak off the grill those just won't work—it has to be red. What do you want in a summer red? Something you can chill; something that is big on fruit but light on tannins; nothing with too much alcohol, and a bit of spritz wouldn't hurt. Here are three that fit the bill.
2017 Cleto Chiarli Lambrusco Vecchia Modena, $16.99
There's a rush of bubbles prickling the palate when you first pour this frizante red, but things mellow out quickly. The vibrant aromas are filled with floral violet and quince. The palate is an explosion of fruit flavors with sour cherry, light strawberry, cranberry, raspberry and tangerine. It's the perfect summer red.
2017 Domaine Dupueble Beaujolais, $17.99
The aromas are a mix of red fruit (cherries and berries) with an intriguing touch of balsamic and cola. Beaujolais' Gamay Noir grape creates a wine that works well lightly chilled, and this one is no exception. It opens with ripe cherry flavors balanced by bright cranberry. Very soft tannins add a bit of grip to the finish.
2017 Willamette Vineyard Pinot Noir, Whole Cluster, $22.00
Whole cluster refers to the carbonic maceration technique used here—the juice of uncrushed grapes ferments from within, taming the tannins and resulting in a softer, juicier red. There's a bit of earth to the lively blackberry and bing cherry aromas. The flavors are smooth and creamy, filled with bright berry and cherry fruit, colored by cocoa and vanilla.