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I'm just going to put this out there, chillable red is the new rosé. Now, we're lovers of rosé as much as the next group of vinophiles, but sometimes you need a wine with a little more oomph. As summer starts to wind down, and you're dreaming of fall and crunchy leaves, consider switching to light-bodied or thin-skinned red grape varieties. We have several of these easy-drinking, chillable reds on hand from all over the wine world ?— Oregon to Portugal, the Loire Valley to Württemberg, Germany. The structure of these wines mean that they can hold up to a wide variety of proteins, from grilled swordfish to a rack of lamb, or cured meats and cheeses, but they will also be perfectly pleasant on their own. I tried the Brise d'Aunis from La Grange aux Belles with a mushroom ravioli in a truffle marinara sauce and loved the way it matched the savory, umami notes of the wine! These are our picks for your perfect Labor Day BBQ, charcuterie picnic, or just battling those final sweltering summer days. Pop these in the fridge for 15-20 minutes for the ideal drinking temperature, or save them for the fall when they'll also be great at cellar temp. Michelle DeWyngaert
The Falkenstein Red is sourced from 25-year-old Pinot Noir vines planted near the estate on the Herrenberg. Grapes undergo spontaneous fermentation and the wine ages for 18 months (in Fuder of course) with enough natural acidity to stave off malolactic conversion; this makes for a fresh and bright red! Showing a subtle nose of red currants, cherries, and graphite, the wine is medium light in body with more balanced acidity than the 2016. Ripe red cherries and plum skin, raspberry coulis, blood orange and strawberries sustain on a lengthy finish. Enjoy with rustic mushroom dishes, roasted salmon, charcuterie platters, winter squash soups. Cari Bernard
Cowabunga! A Piemontese wine at only 10.5% ABV. And no added sulfur! I would say that's unheard of, yet here it is. Principiano's incredibly charming and utterly delicious Dosset (the name for Dolcetto in the regional dialect) is a beauty: light, fruit-forward and energetic on the palate, with soft tannins and lively acidity. The Dosset shows vibrant fruit notes of cherry, forest berries, red current and red plum, with beautiful floral tones of rose and violet. Very light when first opened, with some air it fleshes out a bit, and a purple plummy note creeps in, along with a hint of spice. Great with a slight chill. Oskar Kostecki
This is another beautiful wine from the shy and affable Stephane Guion who is quietly making some of the best wines in Bourgueil. His 2017 Cuvèe Domaine is from young (15 to 40 year-old) vines on clay/limestone terroir in Benais and is simply delicous, a bit softer and more foward than the vibrant 2016. The wine shows aromas of raspberry and red currant liqueur, violets and citrus - very ripe but still bright with earthy hints as well. The palate is medium-bodied and fresh with firm acidity but more supple than usual for the Cuvée Domaine, with chalky, saline mineral flavors framing the ripe red and black fruits, which continue in the long earthy finish. Drink now, served cool, with grilled chicken and pork, charcuterie, green vegetables and mild cheeses, or hold 5 to 8 years for a velvety mature experience. This is a beautiful wine that transcends its price point - Thanks to Stephane Guion! David Lillie
By now Beaujolais is no longer the sommelier's best kept secret, but what you might not have known yet is that Gamay also does really well in Oregon! "Les Petits Fers" is 100% Gamay sourced from a selection of vineyards in Umpqua and Eola-Amity Hills of the Willamette Valley. The cool coastal winds keep these grapes fresh and bright, and the volcanic clay soils adds depth to this wine. Each vineyard's fruit is fermented separately with most going through full or partial carbonic maceration and then aged partly in cement, puncheons, and stainless steel to create balance. The nose is blend of fresh and dried raspberry, rooibos tea, and violets, and the palate shows some savory notes of dried herbs, and red apple skins. This wine is great with a bit of a chill to enjoy on its own, or try it with lighter proteins and a fruit-based sauce. MD
We are big fans of Pineau D'Aunis, an ancient Loire grape varietal, for the light, earth-driven red wines it creates. This example from La Grange aux Belles is made organically, with low added sulfur. Semi-carbonic maceration for one week with destemmed grapes, and then aging for 6 months. On the nose is an array of savory dried leaves, white pepper and wild cherry, and on the palate plenty of juicy red forest fruits. There's enough structure here to hold up to a roasted chicken or something gamey, but light enough to chill and bring to a rooftop BBQ. Because the yields were quite high, this vintage is bottled by the liter, so more bang for your buck! ~MD
This is a great example of what the terroir of Bierzo is capable of! Diego Losada works completely organically with these 60+ year old vines and creates a field blend of mainly Mencía for the "Vindemiatrix" with a bit of Palomino and Doña Blanca. The wine is unfined, unlfitered, raised in concrete tanks and then bottled with minimal SO2 in accordance with his low-interventionist practices. This vintage has a beautiful freshness and menthol quality that lifts this medium-bodied wine. The nose has a really nice soft violet and roasted fruit quality, and the palate shows deep purple and red plum, ripe cherry notes, and soft powdery tannins. Rich enough to match with the smoke of grilled dishes, but refreshing enough to serve chilled on its own. MD
Tiago Sampaio’s lovely, luminously pale red is actually a field blend of a staggering number of red and white indigenous varieties including Rufete, Tinta Barroca, Touriga Fianca, Mourisco, Tinta Roriz, Gouveio, Rabigatao, Donzelinho Branco, Malvasia Fina and Viosinho, among others, grown in granite and schist soils at 600 meters of altitude. Low in alcohol with an ethereal texture reminiscent of summer rainwater, notes of tart, juicy pomegranate, delicately perfumed rose petals and a lively dash of cayenne pepper combine in this easy-drinking yet beguiling wine of the Alto Douro.
Blaufränkisch, Spätburgunder, and Zweigelt fermented separately in neutral demi-muid, blended in tank before bottling without any added sulfur. Hauntingly aromatic with notes of bramble and soy, blueberries, violets and spice, the palate is juicy and vibrant, with a mélange of wild berries, dark chocolate, and red plums. A healthy choice with BBQ-anything! Cari Bernard
We mostly taste Grignolinos that are dark, heavy, very tannic, lacking the freshness and charm that “correct” Grignolino shows. I think Rovero’s is textbook: light colored, aromatic of flowers, tart red fruit, with light tannins, and crisp acidity – all of this adding-up to a wine that I’d call charming for it’s easy drinkability, but underpinned by enough structure to keep it interesting. This, btw, is a red wine that is delicious a bit chilled, and it’s very versatile at the table. Jamie Wolff
Pranzegg 2014 Schiava (Vernatsch) Campill. From 50-year-old biodynamically farmed vines fermented partial whole cluster. 12% abv. Medium dark garnet translucent robe. The nose offers an array of brambly hedge fruits with black and red currant, wild blackberry, and pomegranate aromas dominating, with faint notes of wet bark, dusty violets, blackberry seed, and game peeking around the edges. On the lighter-side-of-mid-weight palate, the wild berry flavors vie with salty and ferrous soil notes for attention, giving way to to notes of plum skin, and cassis, with a mouthwatering, savory acidity propelling the finish. Great balance between fruit, earth, and freshness. A fine pairing with tagliolini with Prosciutto San Daniele, radicchio, and poppy seeds, but I could see this with roasted pigeon on red wine bruschetta, or gnocchi with speck and Grana Padano. Martin Gojer makes such vibrant and gratifying wines. It’s almost embarrassing that I don’t drink them with more frequency. John McIlwain