Reaching for a glass of red wine is something often associated with a chilly fall evening or a brisk winter night in front of a roaring fire in the hearth. But don’t rule out red when it comes to choosing a refreshing beverage while having fun in the sun.
“Oftentimes people think that red wine is too heavy for the palate when it’s warm and sunny outside,” says Vincent Havard, operating partner of Mercy Wine Bar in Dallas, Texas, which was named Best Wine Bar in the U.S. by Nightclub & Bar magazine. “But if you’re a red wine drinker, there are a few wines that will work well with the warmer weather.”
The secret, Havard says, is to find a light-bodied wine that will sit on the tongue rather than feeling intrusive. “We usually like everything lighter in warmer weather, so it makes perfect sense to drink lighter beverages.”
A safe bet to start with is a pinot noir, which is traditionally a light- to medium-bodied red. It’s fruity tones hint at strawberry, cherry, raspberry, and blackberry flavors, making it a wonderful choice to enjoy at happy hour drinks or with foods traditionally paired with white wines. Thanks to its subtle, silky tannins and lighter body, a pinot noir can play well with both creamy sauces and spicy seasonings, and it makes a great sun-worthy substitute for heavier reds like cabernets or Syrahs, especially since it is one of the few reds that is intended to be enjoyed chilled.
For more light reds that pair well with the sunshine, Celebrity Cruises’s Axess magazine asked Miami-based wine expert Pamela Wilson to recommend some of her favorite reds and sparkling roses to enjoy on a warm afternoon in the tropics. Here are some of her favorites:
Wente Vineyards Reliz Creek Pinot Noir
This California pinot noir comes from the country’s oldest continuously operated family-owned winery. It has aromas of cherry, strawberry, and vanilla, with hints of toasted oats and earth.
Chateau de la Chaize Rose
Elegant and seductive, this wine opens on the nose with red fruits and hints of rose petals. It is best served cool —almost chilled —and reasonably young. It has aromas of cherry, raspberry, and bits of subtle spice.
Pali Riviera Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast
Captivating aromas of candied cherry and blackberry intertwine with delicate hints of violet, thyme, and wild game.
Cuvaison Spire Pinot Noir
From Carneros in Napa Valley comes this pinot noir with notes of rose petals, raspberry, wild strawberry, and a hint of licorice on the nose. It also has flavors of cherry, persimmon, quince, and blackberry surfing a wave of velvety tannins.
Enza Sparking Rosé
Made with prosecco grapes and a touch of merlot, Enza is a light-pink wine with a defined structure on the palate that’s balanced by a burst of strawberries with notes of crisp green apple and rose petals.
Perrier-Jouet Belle Epoque Rosé
The acidity of citrus fruits and the sweetness of flowers create a multi-sensory wine that masterfully blends the aromas with powerful effervescence. The fragrance of peonies joins the notes of fresh raspberries and strawberries with oranges, pink grapefruit, and pomegranate.