Red wine is often misunderstood when it comes to serving temperature. Many people think that all red wines should be served at room temperature. This, however, is a notion of the past. Many red wines are actually much better chilled.
Chilling wine affects the overall structure and flavor and can lead to an entirely different wine tasting experience. Come learn why you should be chilling your red wines and which reds work best served cool.
Should red wine be served chilled?
Most people think red wines should be served at room temperature. However, this statement is slightly misleading. Room temperature is around 68-72 degrees Fahrenheit, and the ideal serving temperature for red wine is anywhere between 60 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit. So yes, hypothetically, if your home is 68 degrees, your red wine may be at the perfect temperature just sitting on the counter. However, most homes aren’t kept at precisely room temperature. And many red wines are better served on the chillier side.
There are a variety of reasons to serve red wine cool. Yes, a chilled glass of wine can be very refreshing, especially on a warm summer night. But, the reasons to chill wine go much deeper than that. The temperature wine is stored at actually affects the flavor and overall structure, or at least the way we perceive it when we sip it.
When red wine is served above 66 degrees, the structure of the wine softens. The structure of a wine refers to the tannins and the acidity in the glass. Structure doesn’t refer to flavor but rather the characteristics that affect how we taste and savor the wine. When wines are warm, it’s more difficult to perceive these characteristics. The alcohol content also becomes significantly more noticeable, and it may overshadow the flavors and other characteristics of the wine.
When red wine is served slightly chilled, the flavors become more focused, the alcohol isn’t as evident, and the structure is tighter and more easily detectable. However, if red wines are served too cold, the aromas and the flavors of the wine will appear more subdued, and the tannins will taste astringent on the tongue. It’s important to hit that sweet spot with red wine: right below room temperature but not too cold.
What is the ideal temperature to serve red wine?
The ideal temperature for serving red wine is subject to some debate among the sommelier community. The temperature range for red wines has been commonly thought to be between 60 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit. However, some red wines benefit from being chilled even further, to about 55 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit. However, we never recommend going below 55, as the flavors and aromas of the wine will become subdued, and it will taste very astringent.
The ideal temperature of red wine depends on the wine itself and its characteristics. Lighter, fruit-forward reds benefit from being chilled more substantially. In general, the lighter-bodied the wine, the cooler it should be served. However, you never want to go to the point of being icy. Lighter-bodied red wines are usually enjoyed for their refreshing, bright nature, hence why they’re so good chilled. For wines like this, aim for around 55 to 60 degrees F.
Fuller-bodied, tannic red wines, such as Bordeaux or Napa Cabernet Sauvignons, taste better when they’re slightly warmer. You still want to get them below room temperature, but you still want to be able to appreciate the structure and savor the tannins. For full-bodied reds, go for around 65 to 68 degrees F.
How to chill red wine
Chilling wine is a little more complicated than it may seem. Unless you have an instant-read thermometer, it’s difficult to know exactly what temperature your wine is and how long you should keep it in the refrigerator.
If you’re serious about being precise with your wine temperature, you may want to consider investing in a specialty wine fridge. Having a wine fridge allows you to control the exact temperature of your wine and adjust the temp based on the type of wine you’re storing. Wine fridges don’t have to be incredibly expensive either: there are various countertop models available that won’t break the bank.
If you’re a more casual wine drinker and don’t want to invest in a wine fridge, there are tons of ways you can perfectly chill your wines with the equipment you already have. Placing your wine in the regular refrigerator works perfectly. You just have to be mindful of how long you keep it in there. The average refrigerator is kept at 40-degree Fahrenheit, way too cold for wine to be left in there long term. We recommend placing lighter-bodied red wines in the refrigerator for about 90 minutes before drinking and fuller-bodied reds for about 45 minutes.
Once your wine is out of the fridge, there are a variety of other ways to keep it chilled while you’re enjoying it, so every glass is the perfect temperature. Keeping an ice bucket on hand is a great idea, as it allows you to quickly cool off your wine if it gets a little too warm. If you really want to keep cool, you can even make ice cubes with your wine. This way, your wine will get chilled, but it won’t get watered down as the ice melts. To make wine ice cubes, all you have to do is pour leftover wine of your choice into an ice cube tray, cover it in saran wrap, and pop it in the freezer.
Best red wines to serve cool
If you’re a big fan of cool and refreshing red wines, be sure to give these ones a try.
Meiomi pinot noir
Sonoma County Pinot Noirs, in general, are greatly chilled, but Meiomi’s Pinot Noir is absolutely stellar when it’s on the cooler side. On the nose, you’ll notice notes of ripe berries, vanilla, and spicy oak. When you sip this wine, you’ll notice its velvety on the tongue, with fruity tasting notes of boysenberry, blackberry, strawberry, jammy fruit, and dark cherry.
The Meiomi Pinot Noir has beautiful tannins and great structure, both of which are wonderfully emphasized by a slight chill.
Antares cabernet franc
Hailing from Sonoma County, California, the Antares Cabernet Franc is an absolutely lovely light-bodied red wine that is wonderful with a slight chill on it. It has a beautiful nose with notes of blackberry, and it’s smooth and light on the tongue, with incredibly balanced tannins. The finish is long and peppery, and overall the wine is incredibly refreshing.
Georges duboeuf beaujolais nouveau
Georges Duboeuf was known as the father of Beaujolais. For those unfamiliar, Beaujolais is a light red wine made with Gamay Noir grapes. The Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau is a gorgeous bright cherry red color and offers lovely youthful aromas. On the palate, you’ll get tons of fruit character and spice, with notes of flavorful berry and strawberry, with floral accents on the end.
Beaujolais wines are perfect candidates for being chilled, as they tend to be light, bright, and fruity. A cool glass of Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau is an absolute treat on a warm summer day.
Las rocas garnacha
The Las Rocas Garnacha hails from Calatayud, Spain, and is made from 100% old vine Grenache grapes sourced from high-altitude vineyards. It is supple-textured and fruit-driven, making it a perfect candidate for chilling. It offers blackberry and cherry aromas and flavors and is incredibly well-structured, with oak and round tannins nuances.
This wine really shines when it’s slightly chilled, and the structure and fruit flavors really pop.
Bonterra cabernet sauvignon
In general, it isn’t recommended to chill most Cabernet Sauvignons. However, the Bonterra Cabernet Sauvignon is incredibly fruit-forward and aromatic, and the flavors and aromas really pop when the wine is slightly chilled. This wine offers bright aromas of bright cherry, currants, and raspberry, along with notes of toasted oak and vanilla. This is a bolder red wine, which makes it a great choice as a base for chilled sangria.
There are a lot of misconceptions that come with chilling red wine. Most people think that all red wines should be served at room temperature, but this isn’t quite true. There are a ton of red wines out there that really benefit from a slight chill. In general, lighter-bodied, fruit-forward wines are wonderful when served on the cooler side. We highly recommend experimenting with the serving temperature of your red wines to see how temperature affects the way they taste.
For all your red wine delivery needs, you can count on Saucey. We offer speedy delivery and no order minimums on an incredible variety of wines, beers, and spirits. Visit us online, and treat yourself to your favorite beverages today.