5 Red wines you should serve chilled this summer

It's 90 degrees, sunny and your eyebrows are catching sweat. You're at cookout, grilling steaks, burgers, vegetables and want to pair them with wine. Sure, white and rosé wines are the most popular summer wines, but your STEAK NEEDS RED! You have to have it.

Often though, the reds are going to be left out on the table, warming up to uncomfortable temperature, usually way above 70 degrees. What happens? The alcohol is more apparent and makes them feel fuller, even sweeter. Oak is enhanced, fruit is riper and they just are not as refreshing.

You can certainly keep your red wines in a temperature controlled wine cooler and serve them right away, but if you don't have that option, these are a few red wines that can be placed in the icebox, picnic cooler or refrigerator 20 minutes before serving.

They can be served at that low 45-50 degree temperature when the ambient temp is hot and humid. I'm suggesting that they can warm up a little but not over 65 degrees, which is almost room temperature.

1. Grenache

Southern Rhône blends, California Rhône rangers, Australia.

This grape is relatively low in tannins and acid but is high in alcohol. It has a pronounced jammy red fruit character, floral notes and spices. A grape that makes plenty of rosés, it's favored for it's fruitiness and texture. When chilled, you get all that fruit, but don't feel the burn. 

List of all our Grenache based wines

2. Barbera

Piedmont and California.

This purple colored grape makes electric blue wines. One look and you would think this is a bold, rich wine, however, it’s wired with so much acidity, it refreshes your palate with a chill. Also low in tannins, it rarely sees any oak.

List of all our Barberas

3. Zinfandel


Not the white kind. Zinfandel when done right, is a great thing. It’s an aromatic grape with peppery, floral and ripe red fruit aromas. Clean and fruit-forward on the palate, it will satisfy anyone who enjoys new world wines, and pairs nicely with summer fare. Red peppers, olives, marinated meats, barbecue. spicy chicken.

 List of all our Zinfandels

4. Touriga Nacional

Alentejo, Portugal

First time I had a chilled Touriga Nacional was in Lisboa at a famous seafood restaurant. I was expecting a cold vinho verde but instead, the red was preferred as a “higher quality” wine. Shaved ham, sheeps milk cheese, grilled octopus all paired with the wine. A young Touriga is also quite aromatic, lots of purple flowers, mint, a little game and blackberries. A wine that sees little oak but has structure and acidity to embrace fatty fishes, salumi, chorizo, and Mexican dishes.

List of all our Touriga Nacional based wines

5. Gamay


A no-brainer. The juicy, colorful gamay grape is often associated with Thanksgiving and Beaujolais nouveau. One of my favorite grapes in the world, I drink it all year round. I love the similarities to pinot noir and syrah. Rhône on the nose, Burgundy on the palate. Cru Beaujolais is more concentrated, terroir driven and has a longer finish. A little bit of Carbonic maceration adds freshness to the palate, softening the need for oak or tannins. Drop a big bottle of Morgon in an ice bucket and see how quick glasses will refill.

List of all our Gamays