Red wines tend be served at just below room temperature, averaging around 60-68 °F. There are some reds though that benefit from chilling, and summer is the perfect time to try them out. Chilled reds are light-bodied and fruity, and are typically served between 50-55 °F. If you’re getting bored of sipping crisp whites and rosés, just toss any of these reds in the fridge for 2 hours (or the freezer for 15 minutes) to get some summer heat relief.
Lambrusco is the adult fruit soda of the wine world. It’s a frizzante (slightly fizzy but not quite sparkling) red that is very fruit forward – think notes of strawberry, blackberry, rhubarb, and hibiscus. It’s very food-friendly, but is particularly smashing with things like pizza and burgers. It is a must for summer cook-outs. Serve it at around 50 °F.
Beaujolais (or any Gamay Noir)
Beaujolais is a wine made from Gamay grapes. It is named for the French appellation where it is made, and it is a light-bodied red with notes of raspberry, cherry, and cranberry but can also have floral and earthy notes as well. My favorite Beaujolais – Louis Jadot Beaujolais-Villages – tends to end on a black peppery note that I love. Another extremely food-friendly wine, pair it with anything or enjoy it on its own at 55 °F.
New World Pinot Noir
Pinot Noir is a popular light-bodied red that people may not think to chill before drinking. It is known for its berry fruit notes as well as earthen flavors, though can vary greatly between Old World and New World bottles. A New World version tilts the scale more towards the berry fruit notes than the earthen ones. Old World leans more earthy. If you’re going to chill a Pinot Noir, opt for a New World. For colder months the standard 60-68 °F works just fine, but for the summer you’ll definitely want to serve your Pinot closer to 55 °F.
Zinfandels are notoriously fruity and slightly sweeter. The flavor notes are typically jammy, berry fruits, but with a slight spice or tobacco-y kick. Though still technically “dry”, it does have more residual sugar than most red wines making it a perfect pair for spicy foods (especially curries). Though Zin can have a fuller body than the other reds listed here, the sweetness and strong fruit flavors allow it to do well at both a standard 65°F but also at temps as low as 55°F.
Grenache, or Garnacha if in Spain, can be slightly fuller in body like a Zinfandel but is still very fruit-forward. Common flavor notes in Grenache are strawberry, black cherry, and raspberry with some stronger flavors like anise and tobacco. Like Zin, it is just as good at typical red serving temperatures as it is in the mid to low 50’s. Serving it chilled will bring out those refreshing fruit flavors.