In the interest of fair play, I’ll answer my December article on winter whites with this one on summer reds. On a blazing hot day, drinking a big red wine may be the last thing on most people’s minds. Rosé, made from red wine grapes, is a nice answer, but some people (read: men) just can’t get past that pink color. So our friends who only drink reds need some suggestions. Beaujolais, made from gamay grapes, can be served chilled, and it is often the only suggestion wine retailers offer. And while throwing ice cubes in your Silver Oak is an option (it’s your wine, do what you want to it), I wanted to find some wines that benefited from the chill, bringing out the fruit and flavor but not freezing out the taste. All of these wines should be served at 50 to 58 degrees, which takes from 10 to 15 minutes in the fridge.
This month’s selections are available at France 44 Wine and Spirits, 4351 France Ave. S., Mpls., 612-925-3252.
Acacia “A” Blend 2007 (Sonoma), $11.99
90% syrah An affordable blend that pinot noir lovers should enjoy, this wine is soft and medium-bodied with bright strawberry fruit. My wife and I had it on a hot summer day with grilled burgers and crispy Cheetos. It was refreshing and a great pairing.
Villa Pozzi 2007 (Sicily), $11.99
100% nero d’avola Made with an Italian grape from the island of Sicily, this wine is silky with sweet plum fruit and the juicy tartness you get from a wild blackberry. Twelve minutes in the fridge will bring out the fruit. It pairs nicely with cold Thai peanut pasta salad and pork pot stickers.
Mas de Gourgonnier 2006 (Provence), $18.99
Cabernet sauvignon, carignane, grenache, syrah I love this wine. It’s balanced between great fruit and that earthy spice you get from the south of France. This is a year-round winner, but it was fun to try cooled down a bit. The low alcohol and bright fruit from the grenache help at the cooler temp. Try with some stinky cheese and fresh berries or with cold pizza for a midnight snack.
Campo Viejo Crianza 2005 (Rioja), $11.99
75% tempranillo, garnacha, mazuela Cooling brings out the bright cherry fruit and low alcohol that give this wine a soft, light finish. It’s an easy sipper on a warm night. Try it with a grilled lamb chops or brats.
Piattelli Malbec Premium 2006 (Mendoza, Argentina), $11.99
100% malbec You need a big red wine for that 18-ounce rib eye that just screams summer grilling. This wine fits that tall order. It’s affordable and full-bodied, with lots of dark plum fruit. It will make that steak even better and, as malbecs tend to be, it’s ready to drink now.
Bill Coy runs Vintage U, which organizes wine tastings, classes, and events for corporate groups, wine enthusiasts, and the general public. Reach him at VintageU@msn.com.