5 of The Best Red Wines for Summer

The arrival of summer is heralded by the satisfying pops of bubbling Prosecco and fruity rosès. We don’t often think of the deep notes of red wines being ideal for long, hot summer days but choose well, and you’ll find a red wine just as refreshing on a balmy summer’s day or evening.

We often associate red wine with weight and depth, with deep plum notes hitting the palette with a tremendous woosh that invigorates the senses and so no wonder we think of it as aa drink ideal for chillier evenings of autumn and winter.

Foregoing a drop of red for a whole season would be to rob yourself of fantastically delicious reds that are equally at home in the heat of summer as they are in the chilly depths of winter.

How to choose red wine for summer drinking

To choose an ideal red wine for summer, choose ones that are: 

  •         From hot climes – reds that are made from grapes grown in hot summers offer the best all-round flavour without too many bass notes.

  •         Unoaked or lightly oaked - they’ll have a lighter texture and flavour, again what you need for balmy days.

  •         Less alcoholic – a red wine at the lower end of the alcohol scale as they tend to be better suited for summer drinking, opt for 13% ABV or lower.

  •         Lighter bodied – leave the clarets, the merlots and the full-bodied red wines for winter.

  •         Low to medium in tannings – a naturally occurring compound, tannins add the complexity of flavour to a bottle of red. Found in the skin of the grape, the light the colour, the thinner the skin and the less tannin there is.

5 choices of red wine perfect for summer

Trivento Private Reserve Malbec

If you can’t resist the bass notes of red wine, there is no reason why a bottle of Trivento Private Reserve Malbec can’t find its way to your glass.

Grown in the foothills of the Andes, the longest continental mountain range in the world, this offering from Argentina has all the lively but complex notes you would imagine in a bottle of red from this region.

A lightly-oaked wine, it is elegance in every glass, bringing together the traditional summer berries of cherries and raspberries. A traditional wine, it will slide down a treat even when the mercury is climbing.

Currabridge Shiraz

Australia is blessed with large swathes of arable land which, when combined with almost endless sun and heat, allows the grape to fully ripen in all it delicious beauty on the vine. The result is a swathe of top quality wines including the very pleasant Currabridge Shiraz.

At 12.5% alcohol, this is a more than approachable red wine for the summer. As well as the fruity tones of blackberries, plums and blueberries, there is a pleasing hint of pepper and spice lingering in the background. Perfect for BBQs, this wine sits equally as well with lighter meals and summer snacks.

Enjoy a glass of red wine this summer

Le Roc de Balme Syrah

There is a lot to recommend Le Roc de Balme Syrah as the perfect red wine for summer…

For starters, it is a French wine made by Alsace’s very own Julian Schaal, also famed for his South African wines. It is bright, zingy and fruity with a lively structure that makes it an easy, uncomplicated wine to drink.

It is also very affordable which makes this the ideal wine cellar filler too but let’s not make this its only selling feature. You’ll find this cheeky number on many a restaurant’s wine list and when you do, order a glass to enjoy.

Portal d’Ouro

This wine shouldn’t work as a summer drink – it is oaked for nine months and it is ruby red – and yet, it does.

A Portuguese wine, it is bold on the palate but the tannins are smooth, one reason why it makes a good red wine for summer drinking. A dry red, it isn’t too acidic and with its cherry and red fruit notes, it is no wonder that it makes it onto the list.

But don’t be deceived for it has spicier notes too and so if you prefer the full-bodied reds that you enjoy with roast beef and other flavoursome winter dishes, then this very affordable wine is surely one of your favourites.

Sits well with lighter summer dishes – it won’t overpower chicken or other white meat dishes, for example, so why not enjoy its heavenly notes this summer?

Il Torcolo Bardolino DOC Classico

No wine list is ever complete without an Italian wine and so including this enjoyable bottle of Italian red makes sense. Made from grapes that benefit from the cool breeze off Lake Garda, this ruby red wine is light, refreshing with a slim body and a typical wine bouquet.

No matter the season, a red wine should have a harmonious effect on the palate, something that Il Torcolo Bardolino DOC Classico delivers in the height of summer or the depths of winter.

At 12% ABV, it has the light touch that is sometimes craved from red wine and in our book, essential for the warmer summer months.

It’s light bouquet also makes it ideal for drinking alongside lighter summer meals, although it holds its own against steak grilled and smoked on the BBQ too.

Red wine and the heat of summer

Hopefully, we will enjoy the sun and heat this summer, although the season is notoriously unpredictable in the UK. Reliant on the jet stream being pushed far to the north, we may enjoy the dog days of summer, complete with a glass of red in hand.

But heat isn’t always kind to wine, the reds included. And yet, putting red wine in the fridge is a bad move, a mistake that we only make once – or is it?.

Can you put red wine in the fridge?

Contrary to what you may think or have been told, lightly chilling a light-bodies red wine for 20 minutes before you uncork it can help to emphasise its flavours and bouquet. Wine guru Janice Robinson serves lighter-bodied chilled red wine over ice, a move that she freely admits raises eyebrows.  

Once opened, store in the fridge for a day or two to slow the rate of oxidation, the chemical reaction that is the nemesis of red wine.

Whichever red wine you choose this summer, savour it.