Despite my tepid feelings about the wines we tasted, I probably would have enjoyed most of them with a burger or freshly grilled steak as an accompaniment. That’s a testament to the power of food and wine pairing!
But really, there’s no big trick to finding the right summertime red. It’s just a matter of knowing what to look for.
The best choices are wines that are light to medium bodied and with mild to moderate tannins. Zinfandel and barbera are classics, but also think pinot noir or sangiovese. More unusual suggestions include wines made from the Grenache, rarmenere or gamay grapes. (For the latter, look for Beaujolais – just not “Nouveau.”)
In addition, these wines can benefit from being served slightly chilled. Put the bottles in an ice bucket or the fridge about 30 minutes before you want to drink them and they will be the perfect temperature for your outdoor fun!