We expected to gear up for spring and summer by stocking our wine fridge with as many bottles of rosé as we could fit, but these days it seems like we’ve been hearing more about a new wine trend: chilled red wine. Now, we’ve always stuck to drinking red wine at room temperature (sangria not included), but we’re intrigued at the thought of sipping on something a little more interesting than pink wine when the weather gets warmer, so we reached out to several wine experts to get their opinion on the emerging chilled red wine trend.
“I’ve been drinking chilled reds for some time now, so I’m happy to hear it’s becoming a trend!” shared Katie Nelson, senior director of winemaking for Columbia Crest. “It’s a great opportunity for people to enjoy wine on even more occasions. Anything with a lighter body, higher acidity and no oak is nice chilled — varietals like Pinot Noir and Gamay. They’re great to pair with charcuterie boards and appetizers or a hearty salad like arugula with flank steak, parmesan cheese and cracked pepper.”
“For a lot of light, lively red wines, the perfect temperature is definitely chilled,” agrees Sarah Tracey, sommelier and founder of The Lush Life. However, it’s important to note that there’s a difference between chilled and cold.
“Red wine is supposed to be served ‘at room temperature,’ however what a lot of people don’t realize is that ‘rule’ was created back when we were enjoying wines in castles and rock chateaux, making ‘room temp’ cooler than our typical houses nowadays,” shared Kelsey Chesterfield, marketing manager of Gold Medal Wine Club.
She recommends setting your wine fridge to 58 degrees for wines you’d want to drink chilled.
Which red wines should you try chilled?
If you’re interested in trying the chilled wine trend, Tracey recommends “Wines made from thinner-skinned red grapes that have a bright, juicy profile with plenty of crunchy red fruit flavors (think: Pinot Noir, Gamay aka the grape of Beaujolais, Alpine red grapes like Trousseau and Poulsard, and Sicilian wines like Frappato).”
Red wines you shouldn’t drink chilled
However, not all red wines benefit from a brief rest in the refrigerator.
According to Tracey, you should never chill “Full-bodied red wines that have a high level of tannin (like Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Nebbiolo) — dropping the temperature on these could make the wines taste astringent and even metallic!”
Chesterfield also warns that “when a wine is too cold, a lot of the fruit expression and complexity of the wine gets masked.” She says that heavier wines like Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, Syrah and Malbec are better served at 65 degrees — a more modern-day room temperature. “Since these full-bodied reds typically have more complexity, a slightly warmer temperature will help bring those qualities out in the wine,” she explained.
Interested in trying some chilled red wines? Here are a few bottles recommended by the experts we spoke with.
1. Erath 2017 Oregon Pinot Noir
Nelson says of this wine: “Luscious loganberry, Bing cherry and rising bread dough waft forth with a pleasing hint of caramel and aromatic sandalwood. The smooth, weighty palate offers cherry candy, pomegranate, candied orange peel and a touch of anise concluding with a nice uplifting finish.” Sounds like a winner to us!
2. Coto de Gomariz, Ribeiro La Flor y La Abeja Sousón
“This fresh Atlantic wine is light in body with notes of inky iron, hibiscus flower, deep fruit, and spice, and it comes correct with a nice tannic backbone. She tastes delicious with a chill!” exclaims Erin Rickenbaker, wine director at Bellota in San Francisco.
3. Montsecano Refugio Pinot Noir 2018
Doreen Winkler, natural wine sommelier and founder of Orange Glou, recommends this bottle of natural wine — a light and fruit-forward Pinot Noir — as one you should try chilled.
4. Wölffer Estate Finca Red from Argentina
Roman Roth, the winemaker at Wölffer Estate Vineyard, recommends this bottle for chilling. It’s “a Malbec based red wine that is made even more versatile by the addition of 11% of a white wine, Torrontes.”
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