Chilled Red Wines For Hot Summer Days

Wine tips for hot-weather drinking

Yes, it violates the "room temperature" rule. But that wasn't great advice to begin with. Also: Who likes rules?

The truth is, a lightly chilled glass of red wine can be a lovely thing in the summer (or even year round) provided you keep in mind a few easy tips:

Keep it fresh and fruity. Dry, fruit-forward reds are great with a bit of chill. Beaujolais is the classic example here, but there are plenty of options from Italy, too, like Piedmont's cherry-rich Dolcetto and Barbera and Veneto's tangy Valpolicella (try the 2011 Zenato Valpolicella Superiore, $14). Or, go rogue and grab a juicy Greek red from Peloponnese like the 2010 Skouras Saint George Nemea ($15).

Pick a wine that's light on its feet. Think cool-climate Pinot Noir, Loire Valley Cabernet Franc or even Austrian Bla├╝frankisch. For backyard barbecues, try an all-American Zinfandel, but be sure to pick up a light and breezy style that's low in alcohol and not too intense, like the 2011 Quivira Zinfandel Dry Creek Valley ($22). Another solid bet? Young Spanish Rioja, labeled Crianza. It's low in oak and tannin and can be had for a song; bottles from historic bogedas like CVNE can be yours for less than $15.

Serve them chilled; not ice cold. We're looking for a chill here, so about 45 minutes in the fridge should do it. If you're in the mood for something cooler, reach for a glass of bubbly red instead: Lambruscos, like this bottle from Tenuta Pederzana ($15), can hang in the fridge all day.