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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Great Red Wines for Summer

So, you're a red wine lover but not sure if that's the best option when its 90° outside? Well, don't despair - some red wines will actually help you beat the heat!

These light-bodied reds will give you less tannins, but great red wine flavor, and are delicious in the summer when chilled:

Beaujolais [BOE-zjoh-lay]
Beaujolais is the "fun" wine on most wine drinker's lists. It's not too heavy, fruity, and very approachable even for non-drinkers. It's also one of the few red wines that benefit from being served slightly chilled. Best of all, almost all Beaujolais is very inexpensive. You can get a great bottle for $8 - $15. Geographically, the Beaujolais region lies immediately south of Burgundy proper. Unlike Burgundy, Beaujolais grows the Gamay grape for red wine. The wine itself is made via a process called carbonic maceration (whole berry fermentation). This enables winemakers to extract the juice with an absolute minimum of tannin; it is this lack of tannin that makes Beaujolais so easy to drink. Bursting with ripe strawberry and raspberry flavors, this is a terrific "day" or picnic wine that will complement everything from a roast beef sandwich to barbecue chicken.

Pinot Noir [Pee-noh-n'wahr]
This fickle grape demands optimum growing conditions - warm days consistently supported by cool evenings. Pinot Noir is a lighter colored and flavored red wine. Pinot Noir’s forerunner and modest inspiration hails from red Burgundy, one of France’s most prized wines. Today, Pinot Noir is planted in regions around the world including: Oregon, California, New Zealand, Australia, Germany and Italy. Due to the stringent growing requirements for Pinot Noir, it is produced in much smaller quantities than other popular red wines. So, you might pay a little more due to the “supply and demand” theory. However, excellent values can be found like the Mark West Pinot Noir at just $10! Flavors are reminiscent of sweet red berries, plums, tomatoes, cherries and at times a notable earthy or wood-like flavor. Pinot Noir pairs well with poultry, beef, fish, ham, lamb and pork. It's also a great complement to creamy sauces, spicy seasonings and may just be one of the world's most versatile food wines.

So, get out there and enjoy your red wine, even on the hottest summer day.

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