I like a full-bodied red wine as much as the next red-blooded American -- just not in August. In this heat, I'd rather chill a good Beaujolais alongside my beers. And you know what? That "light-weight" red with the flowery label goes with a grilled steak just fine, its acid cutting through fat like a chain saw. Mind you, I'm not into that nouveau fluff that invades our bistros every November; I'm talking about real Beaujolais -- the underappreciated Gamay grape, rooted in granite soil -- from these cru areas in France: Brouilly, Chénas, Chiroubles, Saint-Amour, Côte de Brouilly, Morgon, Fleurie, Juliénas, Moulin-à-Vent, and Régnié. I'd say that committing those names to memory is the only heavy lifting you need to do this month.
Here are 5 wines that you should be drinking outside, chilled:
1. Pavillon de Chavannes Ambassades 2012, Côte de Brouilly; $23; sussexwine.com
2. Domaine des Braves Regnie 2012; $18; northsidewine.com
3. Château de la Chappelle des Bois Fleurie Grand Pré 2011; $22; sussexwine.com
4. Georges Descombes Morgon 2012; $24; chambersstwines.com
5. Dominique Piron Morgon 2012; $17; sherry-lehmann.com