Ray Isle (@islewine on Twitter) is Food & Wine's executive wine editor. We trust his every cork pop and decant – and the man can sniff out a bargain to boot. Take it away, Ray.
Summertime, you know, it's all about the white wines. Well, and the rosé wines. And the sparkling wines. But what is there for people who get the heebie-jeebies when they're presented with a nice glass of Sauvignon Blanc? Who think pink wine is for poltroons and pikers? Who feel that the sadly departed English wine merchant Harry Waugh's reputed comment - "the first duty of wine is to be red" - is gospel, and not just a nice idea? What about their wine, huh?
Well, because this is an equal opportunity column, I feel it's incumbent on me to provide some recommendations for great summer reds. What makes a red wine ideal for summer? Not too much alcohol, for one - skip the 16.5% Amarones, and put the port away until wintertime. A good summer red should also have a certain crispness of character, an acid-driven zip that perks up your taste buds rather than sending them to sleep. Finally, and ideally, it should taste good when slightly chilled. With all that in mind, here are some great options.
2012 Gnarly Head Pinot Noir ($10)
2012 Librandi Cirò Rosso ($12)
2012 Shadow Chaser Red Wine ($14)
2012 Bon Marché Red ($15)
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