When the warmest months of summer come around, wine drinkers lean into rosés and crisp white wines. While there’s nothing wrong with those options, we shouldn’t be so quick to dismiss red wine or turn to it only in the colder months. There are plenty of reds that lend themselves to chilling and can be extremely refreshing.
Choosing the right type of red wine to chill can be tricky but opting for red blends or wines made from varieties with juicy characteristics is a good place to start. Light-bodied grapes such as Gamay and Pinot Noir, for example, deliver bright, fruit-forward flavors, making them ideal for sipping cool. While Malbecs deliver a bit more body, the variety’s spiced notes perfectly complement summer BBQs.
Whatever your preference, there is a world of red wines vying for your attention during the sweltering months. So we’ve gathered a tasty mix of options to cool off with, chosen by VinePair’s tastings director Keith Beavers.
Best Chillable Red Wines Under $25
Mezzacorona ‘Dinotte’ Red Blend Vigneti delle Dolomiti IGT 2013
A delicate balance of punchy sweet notes and smooth fruit flavors, this red blend is as luxe as its label. Italian for “at night,” DiNotte is made from native grapes Teroldego and Marzemino, along with some Merlot. When chilled, it has just enough weight to be paired with meals but can just as easily be sipped alone.
Average price: $11
Ace Kicker ‘Big Bet’ Blend 2017
For a smooth, easy-sipping red blend, you can’t go wrong with this bottle. It offers great balance and a subdued oak aroma that caries nicely through the finish. Chill ahead of time and bring one (or more) of these bottles for your next park outing or impromptu wine and cheese night with friends.
Average price: $13
Funckenhausen Malbec Blend 2020
Malbecs may not be your first thought when it comes to chilled red wines, but this one is so juicy and round, it’d be crazy not to chill it. Think summer-ripe fruits, like blackberries and blueberries, brimming with acidity and body. Plus the screw cap makes it the perfect companion for fun-in-the-sun activities.
Average price: $15
Buena Vista Winery Vinicultural Society Sonoma Pinot Noir 2018
This North Coast Pinot Noir has an incredible story and an even better price The Buena Vista Winery was one of the first wineries to open after the Gold Rush that sparked life in Sonoma. At just under $20, its Pinot Noir is a jammy expression of bright berry fruits that begs to be sipped chilled on a hot August day.
Average price: $16
Primus The Blend 2018
If you prefer an herbaceous red blend come summer then this option is for you. It’s zesty on the palate with full fruit notes and tannins that give it a comfortable body. Serve it lightly chilled and pair with grilled veggies.
Average price: $21
Albert Bichot Morgon Les Charmes 2018
Beaujolais wines are known for being nice holiday wines, but they’re also a great option to serve chilled. This bottle from the Morgon Beaujolais cru is bursting with aromas of overripe strawberries and white pepper that sing when sipped cool.
Average price: $23
Kind of Wild Malbec-Cabernet Sauvignon 2020
Looking to please a crowd? This organic and sustainably made Malbec is a delightful savory sip. Bring it along to your next BBQ and serve with crowd favorites like grilled meats or BBQ chicken and salmon.
Average price: $24
Intrinsic Red Blend 2019
The palate of this wine has some nice peppery notes, thanks to its blend of Cabernet Franc and Malbec, both of which aid in breaking up the sweetness often associated with red blends. On the palate, it’s juicy and light, which makes this a fun chilled sip from start to finish.
Average price: $25
Best Chillable Red Wines Under $50
Dogwood & Thistle Testa Vineyard Carignan 2019
In this Carignan, notes of chocolate mingle with cherry cream and soft scents of soil. It may sound complex but this bottle is actually very well balanced and ideal for chilling thanks to its deep fruit and natural acidity.
Average price: $26
Macari Vineyards Dos Aguas Red 2019
If you’re in the NYC area you’re likely pretty familiar with the quality of Long Island-based Macari Vineyards. This red blend of theirs is no exception. The fruit is mild but expressive, which gives the wine a nice acidity that is aptly balanced with its rich leathery notes.
Average price: $35
Domaine Skouras Megas Oenos 2017
Muted fruit gives this wine a soft and supple mouthfeel that is light without being underwhelming. It’s made from a blend of Agiorgitiko and Cabernet Sauvignon and is refreshingly fruity when served chilled.
Average price: $40