Five Summer Reds to Chill Down and Chill You Down


Here we are smack dab in the middle of summer in New York City. The heat has settled underground in the subway stations like an oven and the only relief you get when you re-emerge is a sticky breeze wafting up at your face from the sidewalk gutters.

What you really need to cool you down and lift your spirits is a frosty beverage. Although drinks needn’t be seasonal, there is a certain appeal at this time of year to a tall glass of water, an ice cold beer, or a chilled white wine or rose.

Red wine does not spring immediately to mind during the dog days of summer. That is, until you discover these swiggable California reds whose utter deliciousness is elevated to new levels with 30 or so minutes in the fridge. Get your hands on these chillable reds and make the rest of your summer just a little more colorful:

2013 Edmunds St. John Bone-Jolly Gamay Noir El Dorado ($22.99)
Gamay Noir is best known for the wines of Beaujolais, France. These grapes, however, are from high elevation vineyards in the Sierra Foothills of California. This is no doubt one of my favorite wines of summer, especially when I am not in the mood for white or rose. Chill it and the cherries and strawberries come bursting out of the glass, along with a tasty herbal component that makes you crave a plate of cured meats and cheeses.

2012 RPM Gamay El Dorado ($36.99)
Speaking of Gamay Noir, the grapes for RPM are also from high up in the Sierra Foothills. The wine is a bit richer than the Bone-Jolly, with more layers of flint and mineral along with notes of fresh raspberries. Requiring perhaps a bit less of a chill, the wine still benefits from about 20 minutes of quality time in the fridge. A collaboration between Nathan Roberts, and Duncan Arnot Meyers of Arnot-Roberts and Rajat Parr, as well as Steve Edmunds of Edmunds St. John, this is a fitting wine for that special outdoor dinner, with friends that appreciate a good bottle of wine – and won’t laugh at you for chilling it down.

2013 La Clarine Farm Jambalaia Rouge Sierra Foothills ($21.99)
Jambalaia, which is derived from the Cajun “jambalaya” means a “mish-mash or a mixture of diverse elements”. In this case, the elements include 30% Syrah, 28% Mourvedre, 23% Marsanne, and 19% Grenache. This blend of white and red grapes is so fun and chuggable that you’ll hardly have the patience to wait 30 minutes for it to come out of the chiller. A super lively wine, Jambalaia is like drinking down a cool strawberry rhubarb tart.

2012 Heitz Cellars Grignolino St. Helena ($25.99)
I’ll bet Grignolino is not the first thing you think of when you think ‘Heitz Cellars”, but the Heitz family has been making this light colored Italian variety since the 60s. The dried herb and floral notes make the wine intensely food friendly and it pairs well with everything from fried seafood, to pizza, to cured meats and cheeses. The strawberry and cranberry fruits hold up to the savory flavors when you chill it down, making the wine even more enjoyable.

2013 Broc Cellars Love Red California ($26.99)
Everyone who has tasted this wine in my presence has poured themselves another glass. You just can’t help it. Packed with berries and other red fruit flavors, the wine is a blend of 75% Grenache, 15% Mourvedre, and 10% Syrah, unfined and lightly filtered. Light and pretty and all the more charming with a chill, it’s like a bouquet of summer flowers on your palate.

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