As the temperatures start to rise, our desire for gutsy red wines diminishes and a chilled, glass of white becomes infinitely more appealing. The closest many of us will get to a red in summer is rosé, but there’s no need to rule out the category completely.
There’s an easy way to make sure that many red wines become summer-friendly – you just need to chill them down. According to Tim Atkin MW, there are actually some reds which taste better straight from the fridge. A chilled red will certainly make a great accompaniment to many dishes too, especially a plate of charcuterie.
You need to be careful though, because not all reds will take kindly to being chilled down; there’s an art to picking the right kind red.
Here are our three top tips to achieve chilled red wine perfection:
A big Australian Shiraz chilled down would not be an enjoyable drinking experience for most. As red wine is chilled, the structural elements of the wine such as the drying tannins and the burn of alcohol begin to stand out more. In this case, picking the wrong red to chill can be disastrous, as the wine will become unbalanced and subsequently rather unpleasant.
Try to choose reds that are naturally lower in tannin and body such as Pinot Noir, or a young Rioja, as these are much more cold temperature friendly.
A light bodied wine will take much better to being chilled down than a more full bodied example. With white wines, the ideal temperature that a full bodied oaked Chardonnay should be served at (10-12˚) is very different from a light Sauvignon Blanc (7 – 10˚). This is exactly the same with reds. While the more full-bodied examples should be served at 18˚, you can get away with lightly chilling a lighter bodied red like Valpolicella.
It’s all about temperature
All reds will suffer if they’re too cold. This is due to the fact that as wine becomes colder the aromas become much less prominent, and for a really cold glass of wine they can almost disappear. As cooling your wine will dampen down its aromas, getting your reds at the correct temperature is key. You want to aim for ‘lightly chilled’ (around 13˚) i.e. cool enough to make the wine refreshing, but still warm enough for the wine to be well-balanced with enough aroma. About 30 minutes in the fridge should do it.
Here are some examples of reds that would be great chilled:
• Pinot Noir
• Joven Rioja