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Wine Series: Summer Reds

Warm weather is here, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy red wine with your next meal. Just ask Michel Couvreux, Head Sommelier at Per Se, which is part of The Restaurant and Bar Collection at Time Warner Center. Here, he shares everything you need to know about going red this summer.

Per Se's Head Sommelier Michel Couvreux
Entrance decor of Per Se

Most people think, “It’s summer, I need to be ordering white or rosé.” But you say red is a good idea.

You probably don’t want to open a big, full-bodied red wine, but there are a lot of lighter red wines that are very good for summer. They’re great for a barbecue outside.

What should we look for in a summer red?

Low alcohol content: 13 or 13.5 percent is ideal. A younger wine is also important: Think, three to five years old. When wines get older, they’re earthier, drier, and better in the fall. Some of the grapes that are always on my list: Gamay, Barbera Dolcetto, Pinot Noir, a young Syrah, and red wine from Sicily, especially Cerasuolo.

Three bottles of red wineCouvreux
Three bottles of red wineCouvreux

Should you chill a summer red?

If it’s 80 degrees outside, you don't want to open wine that’s hot. Chill it to 50 degrees in your wine refrigerator. Or just put in in the fridge for an hour to cool it down a little bit. If it’s been in the fridge for awhile, take it out an hour and a half before your guests arrive.

What about drinking out of plastic when you’re outside?

I’ve tried plastic glasses, even the expensive ones, but the feeling on the palate isn’t the same. Find some inexpensive all-purpose glasses made from glass and use them for red, white, or rosé.

Here are three of Couvreux’s favorite summer reds:

  • Marcel Lapierre Morgon (2016): This is from a small French producer. It’s organic, biodynamic, and fruity. This would go well with seafood, chicken, and green vegetables.
  • Domaine Jamet Syrah (2015): This is aged in concrete, so it’s spicier, a little peppery. This would go well with barbecue, lamb, sausage, and meat.
  • San Fereolo Austri (2010): This is an approachable Barbera wine from the Langhe region of Italy. It’s for someone who wants a more serious summer red wine.

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