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A Glass Of Red Wine, Please!

It’s summer and weather permitting, spending time outdoors is heavenly after sheltering in place for so many months. Reading a good book, gardening, playing lawn games, swimming or chilling with family and close friends is just what we need. For many of us, our backyards are where we will be spending our summer vacation. So, let’s make the most of it!  Whether you’re firing up the grill or cooking indoors, here are some lovely red wines to sip while dining. In warm weather, one tends to reach for chilled white, rose or sparkling wines. I’ve never thought of wine as seasonal and tend to drink a variety of styles all year long. And, sipping red wine with grilled steak or seared tuna during the summer months is more than acceptable and shouldn’t be dismissed! 

These are five note-worthy and summer-friendly red wines to satisfy your palate.

Fontanafredda Briccotondo Barbera Piemonte DOC 2018
Fontanafredda, whose origins date back to 1858, is a 305-acre estate located in the Langhe region of Piedmont, Italy.  Two hundred fifty acres of vineyards spread throughout Serralunga d’Alba, which is a cru site of Barolo. Additional properties are situated in the communes of Barolo and Diano d’Alba.  Fontanafredda is the largest contiguous wine estate in the Langhe.  In 2009, Piedmont native Oscar Farinetti bought Fontanafredda and with this new ownership, sustainability became a special focus.  Today, Fontanafredda is the largest certified organic company in Piedmont, beginning with the 2018 harvest.  

Photo credit: Penny Weiss

This wine is 100% Barbera harvested from vineyards across Monferrato and Langhe.  It is aged partly in new Allier oak barrels and partly in large Slavonian oak casks for six months.  Perfume scents mingle with dark berries, plum, cherry and spice.  These aromas segue onto the palate with sweet blackberries, sour cherry, pepper, anise and a hint of baking spice.  Supple tannins and bright acidity make this wine an easy-drinking addition to grilled meat, fowl, cheese and pizza!
Alcohol:  13.5%
SRP:  $16

Bottega Vinaia Pinot Noir Trentino DOC 2017
Anselmo Martini is the lead winemaker for Cavit Winery located in northern Italy, in the province of Trentino. They have been producing wines for more than 50 years. In the 1990s, Martini realized the potential for a handful of exceptional vineyards in the Trentino region. These family-farmed vineyards are the source of Bottega Vinaia estate-bottled wines that express the Trentino terroir. 

Photo credit: Penny Weiss

This is 100% Pinot Noir.  “After traditional fermentation, the juice macerates for eight days to extract color and body from the skins. Malolactic fermentation is then carried out in wood for increased aromatics.” Lovely aromas of floral, cherry, cranberry and spice lead to a palate of cherry, pomegranate, red plum and spice. It is dry, light-bodied, has silky tannins and is nicely balanced with the fruit. Pair with red meat, poultry, appetizers and salads.
Alcohol: 13%
SRP:  $17.99

Salentein Reserve Malbec 2018
Bodegas Salentein is located in the Uco Valley of Mendoza, Argentina. Many of their vineyards are situated at some of the highest elevations in the world. This privately-owned estate was established in the late 1990s and boasts almost 5000 acres of which 1,124 acres are planted to vine.

Photo credit: Penny Weiss

The grapes for this 100% Malbec are hand-harvested from vineyards of 1,110 to 1,300 meters above sea level. The wine is aged for 12 months in French oak barrels. It opens with delicious aromas of violet, dark berries, plum and tobacco. The palate offers lush fruit flavors of dark cherry, blackberry, dark plum and a touch of baking spice and vanilla. This wine is well structured, has soft tannins and will pair beautifully with grilled meat and poultry, hearty pasta and aged cheese.
Alcohol:  14.5%
SRP:  $18.99

Rocca delle Macìe Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2016
The estate of Rocca delle Macìe is nestled in the gently rolling hills of Tuscany in the heart of the Chianti Classico zone. This is a family-run estate that was purchased by the late Italo Zingarelli in 1973. At the time of purchase, there were only two acres out of 230 acres under vine. Today, the family has six estates throughout Tuscany comprised of 1500 acres with a total of more than 500 acres under vine.

Photo credit: Penny Weiss

This is a blend of 90% Sangiovese, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Merlot. It is aged for two years in French oak and then rests for three months in bottle. Intense aromas of dark berries, dark cherry, plum and spice lead to a layered palate of rich fruit, anise, earth and spice. Fine tannins and good structure make this a noteworthy and expressive wine and a perfect choice for grilled meat, game, seared tuna and aged cheese. The winemaker suggests decanting for one hour before serving and serve at room temperature.
Alcohol: 14.5%
SRP:  $27.99

Château Greysac Médoc Cru Bourgeois 2015
Château Greysac is located in the Médoc hamlet of Begadan, north of St. Estephe, in the Bordeaux wine region of France. It was built in the 1700s and passed ownership a few times while consistently paying homage to the terroir, winemaking and making improvements. Jean Guyon, the owner of Domaine Rollan de By, purchased Château Greysac in 2012. The vineyard sits on 150 acres with vines that are 20+ years old.

Photo credit: Penny Weiss

It is a beautiful blend of 65% Merlot, 29% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Cabernet Franc, and 3% Petit Verdot. It is aged for 12 months: 50% in new barrels and 50% in used wine barrels, all 100% French oak. It opens with heady floral aromas, dark berries, spice, and a touch of earth. An explosion of dark, rich fruit entertains the palate with dollops of spice, herbs, earth, tobacco and fine tannins with the bonus of a lengthy finish. It is expressive with structure and sophistication. Put aside a few bottles and open again in a few years. It is a great wine to pair with grilled meat, poultry, hearty fish and aged cheese.
Alcohol:  13.5%
SRP:  $29.99  Impressive…right?  (don’t walk…run to a store to buy a case!)

Most of the above wines can be served slightly chilled. Don’t chill beyond 30 minutes or the wine might get dull and lose character.
I hope this entices you to reach for red wine the next time you fire up the grill or pack a picnic meal.
Until next time…



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