As the warmer weather starts to creep in, our focus when wine shopping swings towards things that are perfect for those light summer eves (and although it’s all too easy to lean on light whites and pale rosés) we thought we’d shed some light on one of our lesser-spoken-about fridge staples - chilled reds.
“Chilled reds!?” we hear you gasp. “You don’t put red wines in the fridge!??” - well, let’s take a small dive into why we think there’s always room for red in your fridge. Most of us by now have a favourite light-red that we keep on buying for those warmer nights, but how many of you have taken the next step and chucked it in the fridge to take the edge off?
If you’re asking yourself “why though?” The answer is simple - because a cooler serving can elevate the full fruit flavours, tighten the overall structure, and heighten the acidity in a wine, giving a fresh, more mouthwatering effect. The result is a wine that still holds all the expected lip-smacking complexity of a red wine, but with a more refreshing and elegant finish, PLUS it’s a great way to still get your red wine fix even when the sun’s shining.
The best red wines to try chilled are light-to-medium bodied, with minimal oak influence and low alcohol, such as Beaujolais, Pinot Noir, Gamay and Cabernet Franc. You’ll want to avoid big, bold, full-bodied wines as these wines benefit from ‘opening’ and are more suited to the decanter rather than the fridge.
In terms of temperature - there’s no need to go overboard, simply pop the bottle in the fridge for 20 to 40 minutes (or even less if you’re still unsure about the whole thing) because if the bottle is too cold then you’ll suppress all those wonderful wine aromas, but keep the temp just right and you’ll heighten those flavours and have yourself a summer sip that works wonderfully with salty snacks (think anchovies, olives), cold meats (think saucisson, cured sausage) and summer pastas (either pesto or a banging sugo base).
The chilled reds trend is not hard to master - but if you would like some hot picks to get you started, we’ve rounded up 6 of our favourites for you.