It's almost nice enough to wonder if you're red wine collection feels a little too fire-side, catch my drift? As I've said, if Napa Cab and Aussie Shiraz are first to find their place in your beach bag, then by all means, drink what you like! ...However... for most of us, Spring and Summer calls for something lighter, with enough acidity to quench and fruit to refresh. For this reason, I've laid down my ALL-TIME seasonal favorite producers, styles and varietals for you to rely on. While made in small production, these also seem readily available to me (in NYC at least) and especially online. From light to full and paired best from app to entree, meet your summer red lineup. All under $25, might I add:
1.) 2015 Lapierre "raisins gaulois" (Beaujolais): The Gamay grape is known for it's approachable, light body, and tart fruit like cranberries and fresh apples. This pairs best with the beach, your porch, the backyard, a rooftop -you got it, no food necessary. Your beach bod will thank me ;)
2.) 2014 Copain Pinot Noir: Always delightful, from the Sonoma Valley, this could easily pass for old world, with their fresh and earthy style. I heard someone describe it as tasting "like the mountain-top," which might be due to their high altitude vineyard locations.. who knows. Also, feel free to go back 3-4 vintages if you can find them, because this stuff ages beautifully!
3.) 2014 (or '13) Tami Frappato: From Sicily, by the ever popular natural winemaker, Arianna Occhipinti (#girlboss), the 2014 vintage has been clearly perfected. The raspberries and strawberries on the nose are meant to offset the rocky minerality. Keep in mind, the touch of heat makes this one grill-ready. Try it with a burger or a bratwurst, you'll find it gracefully keeps up.
4.) 2014 Via Arxentea Mencia: The Spanish wine to know this summer! From the region of Monterrei, everything about this well-balanced red screams BBQ. The bell-peppery charm is stylishly balanced with clove due to the portion of new oak used to age. You'll be reminded of smoked sausages and mustard, clear components to successful grilling.
5.) 2014 Rosi Schuster Zweigelt. Welcome to one of my favorite, much lesser known varietals, Zweigelt. This particular Austrian producer really over delivers. With fine-grained tannins and a plethora of cooking spices and herbs, you would think I was talking about a wine worth hundreds more, and maybe it should be. Perfect pairing? Grilled eggplant or pork chops.