Wine isn’t strictly seasonal which is great for us: when it’s cold we reach for a glass of red - something warming, velvety and luxurious. When hot, we want something juicy, crisp and refreshing - preferably chilled. The good thing is, you can have your wine and drink it too!
It’s true that most reds taste their best when at a slightly cool temperature, but some red varieties can take better to chilling than others. Chilling whites has always been relatively straightforward, being a typical go-to drink on a hot summer's day. Reds on the other hand require a little bit more care when cooling, getting them to the right temperature isn’t quite so easy as chucking them in the fridge! Fortunately there are a couple of tips and tricks to make the process easier. But first, should you really chill any red wine?!
Which reds are best kept cool?
You’ll be surprised by the answer… it’s actually all of them!
You may have heard the myth that red wines should only be served and drunk at room temperature. What does room temperature mean these days, though? Well between 9am and 10pm it means a comfy short-sleeved shirt temp, if you’re indoors. Going back many years, room temperatures coincided with drinking temperatures - the days when we didn’t have central heating, insulation and all the creature comforts of modern living.
For a red wine, anything warmer than 18°C is too high: the flavours become blurred and soupy, its structure softens and alcohol becomes more noticeable. Slightly chilled reds have their flavours come into focus and alcohol flavour becomes less apparent, which results in the wine becoming more refreshing to drink. Over-chilled wines, say below 12°C, the aromas and flavours become muted, tannins take on a sharp quality and the wine can start to taste unpleasant. Though all reds appreciate a little chilling, some do benefit more than others.
Tips on choosing a red to chill
5 quick tips to chilling reds
If you don’t have a dedicated wine fridge (and let's face it, most of us don’t!), use the below guidelines to help you when you’re thinking about chilling a nice drop of red.
Now you have it! Pick a nice red and try it slightly chilled - we’ll bet that you’re pleasantly surprised. Don’t forget to sign up to our newsletter to stay in the know with all things vino.
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