Doreen Colondres’ Five Favorite Red Summer Wines

Local wine expert Doreen Colondres dishes on five fab reds (!) for summer.

As temps rise, most tend to turn to lighter whites and rosés. But I assure you, you don’t need to hide your red wine until October! Grapefully, there are lots of red grapes worth enjoying from patio to picnic to the lake or beach. 

Refreshing wines are the most ideal, and what makes a wine refreshing is the level of acidity (aka what makes you salivate after a sip), and cooler climates tend to produce wines higher in acid. 

Bonus, most of the following wines pair perfectly with your favorite BBQ fare—think chicken, pork, salads, and even with a hot dog (!). Pro tip: During summer you can drink most of these lightly chilled (at least 30 minutes in the fridge before enjoying). Here, my five favorite red wines for summertime. 


A red, almost purple, sparkling wine of the Emilia-Romagna region in Italy. Bologna is its capital, and the region is renowned for prosciutto di parma, balsamico di modena and parmigiano reggiano. So now you know what to pour if you’re having charcuterie! With notes of hibiscus and violets, this fun and refreshing wine is best served chilled.


From San Rafael in Mendoza, Argentina, this wine is lighter than malbec and boasts notes of black cherry compote, plum, violets and allspice. Just one sip will have you craving summer food!


Germany is the world’s third-largest producer of pinot noir, but they call it Spätburgunder—late (spät) ripening pinot (burgunder). This wine tends to be lighter in color and body than its counterparts from warmer climates (California or Oregon). 


Gamay is light and fun, a bit fruity and floral at the same time. And if you want a pinch more drama (aka complexity), get Fleurie, the “Queen of Beaujolais,” classified as Grand Cru. 


Say it with me: “zz-why-galt!” Austria’s most-planted red wine grape is a cross between Blaufränkisch and St. Laurent. It tastes like pinot noir, but with a pinch more character.

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Angela Brown
Angela Brown is the author of our Business & Economy section.