A large, juicy grape, Cinsault was historically used in blends to give more volume to other red wines. Today, however, producers have embraced the charms of this varietal—which features flavors of raspberry, cherry, and pepper—and are bottling it on its own. Serve this light South African red with a platter of grilled vegetables.
Gamay, the main red grape in the Beaujolais area, has experienced increased popularity recently. Winemakers have renewed their commitment to the varietal (which was once considered simplistic) resulting in bottles with as much smoothness and personality as those from the neighboring region of Burgundy. Full of berry flavor and floral notes, this lively red is a good pairing for a grain-forward salad.
The high altitudes of Alto Adige, an Italian region bordering Switzerland and Austria, produce acid-driven whites and reds. The Elena Walch winery, run by the eponymous owner and her two daughters, gives the simple Schiava (a native variety) due respect. Cherry and red licorice swirl around, while a hint of sweet almond comes through on the finish. Try it with chicken or a rich fish like salmon.
Effervescent and served chilled, Lambrusco is always refreshing in warmer weather. This version, from a fourth-generation-run estate, features raspberry notes without becoming too sweet. Thanks to its structure and complexity, it’s still robust enough to stand up to hearty dishes like burgers and steak.
The Sangiovese grape is the backbone of many Tuscan wines, but its high-acid, high-tannin structure doesn’t usually feel summery. For this wine, Stolpman Vineyards uses a process called carbonic maceration, where the fermentation causes the grapes to burst, creating a product that is less tannic, juicy, and very drinkable. Bright cherry and other berry flavors dominate in this bottle, which works well as an apéritif or chilled and served with fruit.
Shana Clarke is a freelance journalist based in New York City. She holds a Level 3 advanced certification from Wine & Spirits Education Trust, served as a judge and sommelier mentor at the TEXSOM International Wine Awards, and is a certified sake sommelier. Follow her on Instagram at @ShanaSpeaksWine.
Photography by Jarren Vink