I think we can all agree the last thing we want to drink during our hot Dallas summer months is a heavy wine that will weigh you down with lots of tannin, oak, and alcohol. It’s time to lighten up and turn to reds that pair well with Texas patio weather and grill-time favorites. Many of these reds benefit from a slight chill before serving. A few selections were sent for editorial consideration.
Cherry Tart is the baby to winemaker Jayson Woodbridge’s Cherry Pie. It’s fresh and juicy and 100% Pinot Noir from California vineyards in Santa Barbara, Mendocino, and Sonoma, which are all known for their vibrant Pinot Noir selections. This wine is filled with strawberry jam and of course, ripe cherry. $25. Available at Pogo’s.
The Russian River Valley in California is ideal for growing delicious, maritime influenced Pinot Noir. One of the best in the region is Gary Farrell Russian River Pinot Noir, made by Gary Farrell. The fruit is sourced throughout the region and blended to produce a balanced, lively and delicious wine filled with wild flowers, Asian spice, black pepper, and dried cherry. $45. Available at Total Wine and More.
Also from Russian River, one of my all time favorites comes from Amici Cellars, made by well-respected Napa Valley winemaker, Joel Aiken. Their 2012 Amici Russian River Pinot Noir release just became available. It’s filled with aromas of purple flowers, juicy red raspberry, a hint of spice and cola for a vibrant, luscious and Pinot Noir. Tannins are well integrated and create a soft palate and supple and silky finish. $35. Available at Total Wine and More.
Santa Lucia Highlands is known for producing stellar Pinot Noir, Fans of this region gravitate to the fresh red fruit notes with subtle mineral and earthy notes in the wines. Hahn Winery SLH Pinot Noir fills the palate with both the ripe red fruit notes, as well as fresh plum, blackberry, and herbal notes for a well rounded Pinot Noir which is perfect for pairing with grilled salmon or fresh goat cheese. $35. Available at Goody-Goody.
Also from Hahn is the 2012 Smith & Hook Cabernet Sauvignon. This is wine from California’s Central Coast is filled with a licorice, ripe cherry, and spice tone and pairs perfectly with grilled burgers. $25, Available via winery website.
Buena Vista Winery in Sonoma has a long, layered history that current owners, Boisset Family Estates continue to celebrate with the wines they produce. Their Buena Vista Winery The Count, Founder’s Red Wine honors their founder who tirelessly worked to promote California wines in a time when most wouldn’t have thought to drink California wines. The Count marries Zinfandel, Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, and Carignane from vineyards located throughout Sonoma. The result is a lush, juicy blend filled with ripe black fruit, dried red cherry, licorice, sweet spice, and pepper notes–a wine perfect for matching with grilled game, smoked meats, or simply sipped on its own. $20. Available at Goody-Goody and Total Wine and More.
A few incredibly affordable selections for summer include the Bombing Range Red from McKinley Springs Winery in the Horse Heaven Hills AVA of Washington State. A playful blend of estate grown Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Mourvedre pays homage to the 2000-acre McKinley Springs estate that was used as a training site for fighter pilots during World War II. $16. Available via their website.
A hearty Malbec is perfect for pairing with rich Texas barbecue. The current releases from Don Miguel Gascon, including the 2012 Malbec and 2011 Reserva Malbec, fill the palate with black cherry, black berry, cedar, and spice notes. The Reserva is a bit more robust and rich from 15 months of aging in both American and French oak for a portion of the wine. This is a wine with texture, complexity, and great history as the winery was first established in Mendoza in 1884. $15 for the 2012 Malbec, $25 for the Reserva. Both available at Total Wine and More.
I love Garnacha, Spain’s version of Grenache, filled with balanced layers of ripe cherry, fresh herbs, and a hint of earthiness. Sip it on its own or paired with grilled steaks, pork tenderloin, or chicken. Lo Nuevo Sorbo a Sorbo Old Vine Garnacha from the Calatayud region of Spain delivers on both approachability and incredible freshness and flavor for a well-balanced Spanish favorite. $15. Available at wine.com.
Robert Mondavi Private Selection Coastal Crush Red blends Syrah, Merlot, and Malbecto create a juicy red filled with spice, ripe black and red fruit, and a hint of smoke. It’s a great wine to enjoy with brisket or smoked ribs. $11.Widely available throughout Dallas.