Much of what once amounted to the wine rulebook is no longer strictly observed: It’s fine to drink chardonnay with steak, and equally OK to enjoy cabernet when it’s young. But many drinkers still balk at breaking out red wine in the summertime, in large part because the big, brooding flavors that pair so well with a wintry night seem out of place on the beach.
But red wine isn’t all warming notes of leather and tobacco. For drinkers who are starting to tire of rosé, as well as those who’d rather be dead than drink anything other than red, we’ve compiled a list of area wine sellers’ favorite hot weather-appropriate reds.
The shopkeepers supplied the wine names and descriptions: All you have to do is drink them (although the pros surveyed say it’s wise in most cases to chill the bottles first). Stay cool!
Edmund’s Oast Exchange, 1081-B Morrison Dr. | 843-990-9449 | edmundsoast.com
Preisinger Puszta Libre, Burgenland, Austria NV ($24)
Surfer-at-heart Claus Preisigner has been making wines in Burgenland since 2002. He farms bio-dynamically and does little manipulation in the cellar, resulting in pure, natural wines that have electricity to them. This wine has quickly become the staff favorite at EOX: It is a fun, fruity red that should put a smile on your face. It could be enjoyed with so much, but I highly recommend barbecue.
Lucien Lardy Beaujolais Villages, Beaujolais, France 2017 ($14)
Lucien Lardy was the only one of his siblings who chose to follow his father into winemaking. He says he’s a “keeper of French heritage.” And he wakes up early every morning to walk in the vines. His Beaujolais has backbone. I can imagine the Lardy with roasted chicken and sausages, specialties of the region, but how about grilled chicken and brats? I would love this with a green bean-and-potato salad with plenty of whole grain mustard vinaigrette.
Goat.sheep.cow South, 106 Church St. | 843-480-2526 | goatsheepcow.com
Goat.sheep.cow North, 804 Meeting St. No. 102 | 843-203-3118 | goatsheepcow.com
Weingut Niklas Alto Adige Schiava, Trentino-Alto Adige, Italy 2017 ($24)
A pale red wine from northern Italy that has aromas and flavors of herbs, dried cherries and orange peel. All stainless-steel vinification keeps the wine fresh and lets the acidity shine. This is a very versatile wine that goes great with cured meats, especially speck; pizza, grilled chicken, pork or salmon. Twenty minutes in the refrigerator and it's dangerously quaffable.
2017 Le Cantine di Indie Polpo Rosso, Sicily, Italy 2017 (South: $20; North: $10, by the glass)
Made in western Sicily, this grape varietal is called Nerello Mascalese. Move over Pinot Noir: Here's another light red with no oak treatment and all stainless-steel vinification to preserve freshness and acidity. Delicate and flavorful, with aromas of dried rose petals, tart cherries and sage: I love this wine with everything from charcuterie to a seafood dish with red sauce.
Graft Wine Shop, 700-B King St. | 843-718-3359 | graftchs.com
Domaine de la Patience Rouge, Costières de Nîmes, France 2017 ($17)
La Patience Red has really become a house red for us this summer. It's from a family estate and features a blend of Carignan and merlot. It's not a super light red, but it's got a juicy, thirst-quenching quality that I think is really appealing for this time of the year.
Smockshop Band/Hiyu 'Spring Ephemeral' Rose, Columbia Valley, Oregon 2017 ($35)
If you're looking for something super quaffable that you can just throw on ice until you're ready for it, this wine is pretty awesome. While it's listed as a rosé, it functions as more of a light red that's perfect for chilling. Really lovely fruit purity: Wild strawberry and pepper. Delicious.
Monarch Wine Merchants, 1107-B King St. | 843-576-4845 | monarchwinemerchants.com
Andi Knauss ‘La Boutanche’ Trollinger, Swabia, Greece 2018 ($24.99, 1 liter)
Trollinger, also called Schiava in northeastern Italy, is a light-bodied, light-skinned grape that produces tart, red fruited wines with great cut and energy. There’s a slight pepper note that makes this a great wine with any grilled food, from steaks to fish to vegetables. This one is produced by Andi Knauss from the southern German region better known for producing Mercedes-Benz rather than great wine. But Knauss is one of a few intrepid, young producers changing that.
Carmelo Santana ‘Ikewen’ Tinto, Canary Islands, Spain 2017 ($29.99)
Grown on the volcanic island of Gran Canaria, closer to the coast of West Africa than Spain, this is made from the indigenous Listan Prieto and co-fermented with a touch of Listan Blanco (a white grape!) sourced from old vines growing from 4,000 to 5,000 feet above sea level. Featuring smoky, peppery tart fruits on a light, delicate frame, the focus here is on preserving local grapes and reviving abandoned vineyards.
Stems & Skins, 1070-B E. Montague Ave. | 843-805-4809 | stemsandskins.com
Food & Wine magazine has named Graft owners Femi Oyediran and Miles White as two of the year's top sommeliers.
Domaine Philippe Tessier "Le Point du Jour" Cheverny, Loire Valley, France 2018 ($28.99)
The wine is tremendously aromatic with an underlying mineral component. It gushes with candied red fruit, think maraschino cherries and red Twizzlers. It is a quintessential wine to just guzzle without too much thought.
Anne-Sophie Dubois "Les Cocottes" Fleurie, Beaujolais, France 2018 ($28.99)
Dubois studied in Volnay and now makes wine in Fleurie. She usually makes very serious, Burgundy-like wines, but this is a very playful wine from her: 100-percent whole cluster using carbonic maceration. (Editor’s note: Carbonic maceration involves sealing the grapes in a vat with carbon dioxide: It’s a way of fermenting wine without yeast.) The wine is very fresh and energetic with sweet berry fruit, a little earthy pepper and popping minerality.