I love red wine, but in the heat of the summer it’s a rarity for me to find myself walking through New York’s humidity dreaming about a heavy red. While in the winter a heavy, tannic red can be just what the doctor ordered, in summer I try to avoid heavier reds, with their often higher alcohol, at all costs. But that doesn’t mean I avoid red all together, I simply look for something a bit lighter.
While Pinot Noir and Gamay are obvious choices for light red wine, wines from the mountain of Etna on the Italian island of Sicily have recently become more ubiquitous in the United States, and are an excellent choice for the hot summer months. The easiest style of wine to find from Etna is Etna Rosso, a red wine blend that’s made from the Nerello Mascalese grape, along with Nerello Cappuccio. The wines are light in body with a lovely acidity perfect for helping to beat the heat.
Tenuta Delle Terre Nere Etna Rosso 2013 is the perfect wine for a hot day. Immediately upon pouring it I was greeted by an aroma of fresh red berries. In the glass, it was incredibly light in color, very similar to a Pinot and the acidity was bright and refreshing on the tongue. As I swallowed there was a swath of rich berry flavors, and just a hint of minerality, with the bright acidity shining through. It’d be a great wine for a light summer salad, or even a nice piece of fish. Refreshing and light, think of this wine as a high quality Pinot Noir, but you’re not paying the high quality Pinot price tag.
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This wine was universally enjoyed by the VinePair office, with several staffers claiming you could even pass it off as a very dark Rosé given how refreshing it was. But I am happy for it to remain a red, perfect for summer, and even better with a slight chill.