Although we're currently in the throes of rosé season, we can't help it. We find ourselves craving sweeter, fuller-bodied wines even on the balmiest of summer nights. In search of wine recommendations to expand our palettes beyond the unofficial pink wine of the season, we turned to sommelier Joey Letchinger and advanced sommelier Chase Sinzer (aka the duo behind the cool NYC-based wine concierge service Wine Larder).
"There are many dry red wines that showcase classic, sweet fruit characteristics that are worth exploring, especially for the summer," the sommeliers reassure us. In fact, they say, "Grapes that are grown in warmer climates typically taste 'riper' than grapes that are grown in cooler climates, which affect our perception of how fruity and sweet a wine tastes. So it almost brings it full circle to enjoy sweeter red wines in warmer temperatures, mirroring the grapes that go into the wines."
Keep scrolling to shop the sommeliers' picks for sweeter red wines that are perfect for sipping on all summer long.
"This is not the zinfandel you see lining the shelves of every supermarket right around Thanksgiving," reassure Letchinger and Sinzer. "This drinkable and refreshing wine is filled to the brim with ripe fruit. It pairs well with burgers, sausages, chicken, ribs, or whatever you throw on the grill."
"While Napa legend Cathy Corison's fruit always reaches a level of sweetness, her wines are balanced by a certain freshness and acidity," explain Letchinger and Sinzer. "Napa Valley may have a reputation for big, bold, oaky wines, but Corison's created something that makes you want to kick back and grill a steak."
"This wine comes from the Italian island of Sardegna, which is basically an everlasting summertime dream," say Letchinger and Sinzer. "The grape, Cannonau, is naturally sweet, almost like a confection. This should be your beverage of choice for enduring fun, and maybe, just maybe, it'll make summer last a bit longer."
"Bartolo is one of the biggest names in wine," divulge Letchinger and Sinzer. "While the family became famous for their Barolo (made from the Nebbiolo grape), their Dolcetto is no slouch. Plump, juicy, and ready to burst, this wine is filled with fruit characters we can't help but associate with summer."
"This red Lambrusco is refreshing, effervescent, and clean, which makes it the ideal pairing for crisp salads made with peak-of-season stone fruit and whatever else appeals to you at the farmers' market," recommend Letchinger and Sinzer.
"This wine (like the Cicipi Rosso above) is a darling of the natural wine world," confess Letchinger and Sinzer. "It comes from the Emiglia-Romagna region in Italy, and it's really like the hip older sibling to Lambrusco. It's fizzy, fresh, sweet, and amazing with charcuterie and pizza."
"This is port, but not the toffee-like, pudding-type syrup that might be the first image that pops into your mind," say Letchinger and Sinzer. "This port is less sticky, way fresher, and still features enough residual sugar to pair with a simple, summertime chocolate dessert at the end of dinner."
Looking for more wine recommendations? Next up, this is the best red wine to drink tonight based on your favorite Netflix show.