Red wine – to chill or not to chill?

Published on September 19, 2019

You most definitely can drink red wines chilled and they can be perfect for late summer drinks.  But not all red wines are suited to a good chilling.  So how do you decide?

The first thing to consider is the body of the wine.  A full-bodied Australian Shiraz or a Châteauneuf-du-Pape from the southern Rhône won’t take kindly to the ice bucket, but lighter body varieties such as Gamay (the grape Beaujolais is made from), Cinsault and Pinot Noir are perfect grapes to serve chilled.

Secondly, consider the level of tannins, the natural preservative found in red wines gives that drying sensation in the mouth.  High tannin wines are not suited to chilling since they become woody and old-tasting. Save the Malbec for steak nights!

Lastly, remember that not all flavours suit a chill. Cool temperatures increase the perception of acidity which is why many whites and roses are served very chilled. Be sure to pick a red with fresh, acidic elements and choose flavours like sour or bitter cherry, strawberry and raspberry.

Another top tip – don’t chill your reds too hard – put the bottle in an ice bucket filled with ice and some water for about 15 minutes, but do take regular sips to make sure you’re not over-chilling.  If you’re in a hurry, 10 minutes in the freezer will suffice.

Some top picks for chilled reds from the Winecroft member’s wine list would be the 2016 Franz Haas Pinot Nero and the 2015 Château du Moulin-à-Vent Cru Beaujolais.  Cool!

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