Chill Out: The Case for a Cool Red Wine

Ok wine lovers hear this: Americans drink white wine too cold and red wine too hot. I’ll talk about white wine later but for this blog post, let’s talk about chilling your red wine.

“Red wine should be drunk at room temperature”. How many times have we heard this? Well if the room is in a drafty old chateau in Bordeaux in January I might agree. But here in South Carolina, you need to think about letting your red wine chill out.

More and more wine professionals are pointing out that chilling your red makes the wine more enjoyable, especially the lighter low- alcohol reds that are becoming more popular. So, what does temperature have to do with the taste of your red wine? A warm red wine above 66 degrees will taste harsh and the alcohol will become significantly more noticeable. The opposite is true if it is too cold, say below 55 degrees. Too cold and the wine will taste muted, making the “taste” hard to discern.

If the wine is at a temperature between 55 and 60 degrees, you will have more focused flavors and softer tannins and the alcohol taste will not not be as prominent. So I’m not saying stick that red in the fridge and leave it overnight. I’m suggesting you put it in a bucket of ice or the fridge for 15 or 20 minutes.

Now….should all reds be chilled? The short answer is yes, but some reds benefit from a trip to the fridge more than others. Big cabs and zins can improve with a little chill in the summertime but those are really sit-by-fire type reds. Lighter reds can be helped with a chill regardless the time of year. Cab Francs from the Loire Valley of France, Pinot Noir from anywhere (but especially those that are not mass produced and loaded with additives), and Beaujolais.

I’ve noticed an increasing number of my clients enjoying lighter reds, and I have a nice variety to offer. Below are just a few that I have in stock for you to consider. So, open the fridge or dunk it in ice and see the difference.

Click on the wine to link the the following reds we recommend:

Inscription Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2018

Domaine Charvin Vin de Pays à Côté 2016

Joseph Burrier Château de Beauregard Fleurie "Poncíe" 2016


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