However, a high-alcohol big tannin Cabernet is the last thing that I find refreshing on a hot night here in Phoenix. Fortunately, the world of wine is much bigger than Big Cab.
These wines all take a chill very nicely (serve below 60° F) and should be exactly what you're looking for on a hot day.
- Pecchenino Dolcetto san Luigi Dogliani $16: I can't help but open a bottle of this anytime I cook something even remotely Italian. Barolo might be the King of Wines but this is what the villagers of Barolo are actually drinking with their dinner each night. Dolcetto can too often be an after-thought for the winemakers of Piedmont, but Peccenino takes Dolcetto very seriously and Dogliani is probably the best place Dolcetto can come from. A perfect balance of fruit and acidity with perfume and earth on the nose. A very serious wine.
- Pascal Grainger Julienas Special $22: I love Beaujolais and this is a fantastic example of what I love about it. Silky-smooth and thirst-quenching, but all the aroma and depth you expect from Burgundy. This is a serious wine worth every penny, but we carry other Beaujolais including a fantastic one from Dupeuble at $15.
- Chateau de Piraza Minervois $13: This one is a little more difficult to nail down, but I knew I had to represent the Languedoc considering its reputation for delicious value wine and the fact that they have pretty warm summers as well. You could insert several Cotes du Rhone's in this slot, but I find this Minervois especially nice. It has soft touch and goes down easy.
- Fiorini Lambrusco Grasparossa $15.50: From the foot of the Apennine Mountains near Modena, where they take cuisine very seriously. In other words, Lambrusco is a very authentic part of one of the world's most famous cuisines. A dry sparkling red wine, it is certainly out of the ordinary, but it also one of the most refreshing wines for a hot summer day.
- Gardoni Le Fontane Bardolino $15: The Corvina grape makes some of the most sought-after wines in the world with great complexity, but Bardolino isn't often mentioned among them. Bardolino, on the shores of Lago di Garda, is about as charming and easy-drinking as they come without sacrificing any character. This is a truly terroir-driven wine: slightly smokey with the presence of the lake-effect air on the bouquet.
- Valle dell'Acate Il Frappato $15.95: Not surprisingly, a final selection also comes from Italy. This Sicilian wine is often compared to Beaujolais due to it's light body and easy-drinking nature. There are qualities that set it apart however, including a delightful cocoa finish. Don't forget to chill this - I think it shines that way.