Drinks

The Best Red Wines for Summer

It's all about (affordable) chilled wines this season
Best Budget-Friendly Red Wines for Summer
Photo: Halfdark/Getty Images

Think summer is just for drinking rosés and white wines? Think again. Despite their reputation as fall or winter sippers, there are plenty of light to medium-bodied reds perfect for the warmer months.

To help us pull together the best picks (while staying within a $30 budget), we enlist the experts: Devon Broglie, Whole Foods' master sommelier; Bianca Bosker, award-winning journalist and author of Cork Dork; and Jason Dodge, senior director of winemaking at Robert Mondavi Private Selection, who recommends throwing a bottle of red in the refrigerator for about 20 to 30 minutes before serving to get the wine crisp and refreshing (but not freezing cold).

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Switch up your drinking routine this summer and try one of these five red wines under $30.

① 2014 Ancient Peaks Cabernet Sauvignon ($20)

This wine outperforms its price range making it a great budget find. Broglie describes it as "a classic Paso Robles Cab: dense, ripe, toasty" and recommends pairing it with flank steak.

② 2016 Vigneto Saetti Lambrusco Salamino di S.Croce ($19)

"For me, Lambrusco is up there with rosé as the ultimate team player for summer meals—it gets along nicely with practically anyone and anything," Bosker explains. "This Lambrusco makes a superb aperitivo to kick a meal off right, then transitions beautifully into whatever you’re eating (like burgers and hot dogs). If the slight fizz and sparkle doesn’t put you in a good mood, the mix of cherry, floral and herb flavors will."

③ 2015 Robert Mondavi Private Selection Bourbon Barrel-Aged Cabernet Sauvignon ($14)

Replace that glass of whiskey with a bourbon barrel-aged wine instead. Dodge says to pair this nicely balanced red that has oaky and vanilla notes with a rack of ribs or grilled fish.

④ 2015 Domaine Marcel Lapierre Morgon ($30)

"This wine is made with Gamay, a grape long-considered Pinot Noir’s underachieving cousin, and it’s proof that Gamay can be every bit as dazzling as its showboat relative (albeit for a fraction of the price of great Burgundy Pinot)," Bosker says. It's "one of those bottles that stops you in your tracks," Bosker adds. "For that reason, it’s also one that you want to impose on as many people as you can, and one I love to share with friends over the kind of languid, relaxed meals that summer calls for."

⑤ 2015 Oregon Trails Wine Co. Pinot Noir ($20)

This well-balanced red is fruity, dry and slightly smoky. “Grilling salmon? This is your go-to," Broglie says.

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