Why you should be drinking cold red wine this summer

A chilled glass of red might sound like an oxymoron but do not be fooled by the misconception that all rouge should be served at room temperature.

Now that summer is finally here, there’s no better to time to explore the world of chiller-reds. It’s a practice that the rest of Europe have appreciated for decades, but it looks like the UK are finally catching up.

But don’t start popping all your reds in the fridge – some really won’t work well. Instead, we have some top pointers on what makes a wine ‘chillable’:

The first thing to consider is the body of the wine. A full-bodied Barolo or Claret won’t take kindly to an ice cooler, but light body varieties such as Pinot Noir and Gamay (the grape Beaujolais is made from) are classic grapes to serve chilled.

Secondly, be wary of tannins (the thing in red wine that makes it cling to your teeth and gums, and the same experience you get from drinking black tea). High tannin wines do not suit this trend and instead become woody, old-tasting and unusual. Save the Malbec for Sunday Roasts or steak night.

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. Avoid savoury-dominant wines; nobody wants a glass of cold acidic mushroom.

A final tip – don’t chill your reds too hard; a 20-40 minute refrigeration before serving will be just right. By following these basic principles, the chill trend is not hard to master. But if you would like some top picks to get you started, we’ve rounded up 6 of our favourites. 

Bolney Estate Pinot Noir, Sussex UK

Bolyney Estate has been making award winning English wines at its Sussex estate for over 35 years and has been winning global awards for its Pinot Noir. The cool climate of the UK allows the wine to retain its freshness and vibrancy. The cherry and fruits notes have an elegant touch of smoke and spice too that keeps it interesting.

Domaine Julien Régniê, Beaujolais, France

Régnié is one of the lesser known Crus of Beaujolais but this area and this producer in particular continue to surprise and delight the wine world. Expect a touch of floral combines with light pink berry and currant. Chill lightly for fresh perfection.

Teufelspfad Spätburgunder, Rheinhessen, Germany

Don’t be alarmed by the name of this wine, Spätburgunder is actually the German name for Pinot Noir. Here this fruit-forward wine is showing its age a little and slowly developing into greater complexity. Drink this chilled now, or keep it a couple of years to drink at room temperature.

Fox Gordon The Dark Prince Nero d'Avola, Australia

The Australians aren’t missing out on the action either. Fox Gordon grow this classic Italian grape variety tucked away in the prestigious Barossa Valley and Adelaide hills. The result is a subtly spicy, deliciously smooth black fruited wine that would be divine after 15 in the fridge

Kayra Kalecik Karasi, Turkey

Really impress friends with this find far from the beaten track. The wine, fom Turkey and using entirely indigenous grapes, has been a passion project of wine making consultant Daniel O’Donnell. It’s packed with plums and flowers. And whilst the body is a bit heavier, the lively fruit mean it works wonderfully.

Frédéric Mabileau, Les Rouillères, St-Nicolas de Bourgueil, Loire, France

Cabernet Franc is not everyone’s cup of tea but it’s a great variety for chilling down and serving alongside fish. It does have the crunchy fruit we crave in chilled reds but the slightly herbal and leafy edge gives it a great point of difference. Well worth a try.

Further Reading