10 Best Red Wines

Have you white-wined and rosé-d yourself out already? Whether the answer is yes or no, you should still be making red wine part of your wino repertoire for the warmer months. It’s heart healthy, and there are many that happen to be on the lighter side. What are the best red wines that won’t break the bank? Momofuku’s beverage director – Jordan Salcito – filled us in…

There are so many great red wines to choose from! It’s hard to pick just ten, but below are a few favorites in no particular order.

1)  Domaine Comte Abbatucci’s ‘Rouge Frais Impérial’ red wine from Corsica is a great light-bodied summer red wine.  The wines are fresh and gentle, and the original founder happened to be one of Napoleon’s closest friends – in fact, his name is inscribed on the Arc de Triomphe! It’s $26, available here.

2) If you like Syrah, Stolpman’s Syrah from Ballard Canyon (in Santa Barbara County) is excellent. Their entry-level bottling straddles that balance between offering plush fruit as well as nuance and minerality.  The wine is $26, available here.

3) Adi Badenhorst (of South Africa) makes a beautifully accessible ‘red blend’ from Swartland, South Africa. It’s only $12 per bottle, available here.

4) I love the wines and narratives of the La Posta line-up from Argentina. The ‘Paulucci’ vineyard, made from Malbec grapes near Mendoza, Argentina, is a particular favorite, and it’s a steal at $12/ bottle. available here.

5) A crazy-good Pinot Noir (from a totally unexpected place) is the Enderle & Moll winery in Baden, Germany. If you’re thinking to yourself ‘German Pinot Noir, not for me’ – give these a try anyway. They’re gorgeous!  And the entry-level bottling is only $25, available here.

6)  A recent new favorite is sort of quirky – it’s Michael Cruse’s ‘Valdigué’ from Napa Valley in California. Valdigué is also known as ‘Napa Gamay’ – and this expression is bright, fruit-driven, fun and elegant. It’s $30, available here.

7) Speaking of Gamay, this is one of the best red grapes to drink during the summer thanks to its bright acidity and low tannins.  Anne-Sophie Dubois, based in the village of Fleurie, in the Beaujolais region, makes one of the most beautiful examples of Gamay I’ve tasted.  Her ‘l’Alchemiste’ bottling is $26, available here.

8) If you like Pinot Noir, I love Domaine de la Côte ‘Sta. Rita Hills’ Pinot Noir from Santa Barbara. It’s one of the purest expressions of Pinot Noir on the market right now.  The cost is $45, available here.

9)  Another Island wine to which I’m partial: Bellus’ ‘Scopello’ made from 100% organically grown Frappato grapes in Vittoria, Sicily.  Think of Frappato as a sister of Pinot Noir. They’re both nuanced, delicate, somewhat high-maintenance from a viticulture perspective, and incredibly quaffable when done right. (We also donate a percentage of proceeds here to Nomogaia, an NGO that pushes multi-national corporations to respect human rights.) It’s $20.99, available here.

10) I’ll also include our Bellus ‘Girasole, made from organically-grown Sangiovese grapes in the Tuscan hills. It’s a project we make with a partner in Montaione, and we donate a percentage of proceeds to the Tory Burch Foundation.  It’s $21, available here.

Make the drink to make you look younger! 

Need some good wine glasses? Here are the best wine glasses, also from Jordan Salcito.

Read about perfect wine pairings from Wine Expert, Laura Maniec or our interview with Peter Mondavi Sr.