Do You Chill Red Wine The Ultimate Guide

Do You Chill Red Wine? The Ultimate Guide

Do you chill red wine? The short answer: It depends. There are many subtleties in wine, as there are in most things. Wine’s body and flavor vary depending on the grape variety, and serving temperature has a significant impact on both of these factors.

A nearly infinite variety of wines are available to choose from; however, no two of them will require the same care as any other wine in order to be fully appreciated. This is because even the same variety of grapes grown in various environments and locations will result in different flavor profiles.

Knowing the general guidelines for serving and storing red wine, however, is a great place to start. Knowing the fundamentals will also enable you to recognize when those rules are intended to be broken.

Why Drink Chilled Red Wine?

Drinking wine at room temperature isn’t always sufficient for people who reside in warm-weather nations. In fact, outdoor meals and summertime picnics demand a cold beverage to keep you cool. For this reason, many nations with warm climates, like Greece or Spain, chill their red wines and put ice cubes in their glasses.

Though we enjoy all types of wine, from Prosecco to Port, not all wine lovers do. Some prefer red wine, and a chilled glass of bubbly simply won’t do. Red wine lovers needn’t miss out by finding the ideal bottle to chill and sip on a warm evening.

While serving some wines too cold can dilute their flavors and lessen some of their complexity, other wines are simply ideal as a chilly beverage.

Which Red Wines Should Not Be Chilled?

“However, not every red should be chilled—the high-tannin, high-alcohol, and fuller-bodied wines are not good when chilled, because tannins become astringent and metallic,” Segelbaum said. “Any Germanic grape variety, as well as some Italian grapes from Sicily and higher acid grape varieties like Gamay, are excellent for serving chilled.”

Do You Chill Red Wine The Ultimate Guide
Do You Chill Red Wine? The Ultimate Guide

Which Red Wines Are Better Warmer?

While serving medium- to full-bodied wines hot doesn’t help (unless you’re making a festive mulled wine), they do typically taste better when they’re a little warmer.

Use your wine fridge to get the right temperature for full-bodied bottles, but wait 15 minutes before pouring yourself a glass. Your wine should be at the ideal serving temperature of 60 to 65 degrees thanks to this.

But since not everyone has a wine refrigerator, chill your bottle for 30 minutes prior to serving. After that, either decant the wine or pour the first glass, letting it sit on the table for 10 minutes to warm and breathe before you drink it.

These are a few to stay away from if you’re looking for the ideal chilled red.

Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon shouldn’t be your first pick for a chilled red that tastes like summer because of its extremely full body and high tannin content. If you don’t like a cold drink, it does go well with grilled meats, so you might want to invite it to the BBQ.


The full-bodied red wine with a high alcohol content, Malbec, is from Argentina. It boasts savory notes of vanilla and tobacco in addition to rich dark fruit flavors like plum and blackberry. At room temperature, each of these flavors performs best.


Merlot is a red wine that goes perfectly with a wide variety of foods. However, adding some ice cubes is probably not the best idea due to its full body and high tannin content.


The Australian equivalent of Syrah, this full-bodied red wine has notes of black cherry and clove. Shiraz sparkling, a really intriguing bubbly red that you can serve chilled, is best served a little warmer.


While red Zinfandel has a medium to full body and high tannins, it isn’t the best red for drinking cold. White Zinfandel, on the other hand, is best served chilled. However, its notes of peaches, strawberry, and cinnamon are a delightful winter treat on a chilly, windy night.

How Do You Chill Red Wine?

Not everyone has a wine fridge, but experts caution against storing red wine in the fridgefor long periods of time. Here are some suggestions from the pros for a chilled red when you’re in a bind.

Refrigerator: For Fleming, the task is straightforward: “For any reds, pop the bottle in the fridge for 10 minutes before meals,” Fleming suggested.

However, Segelbaum issued a warning that your food refrigerator might be too chilly for red wine.

“Refrigerators for food are too cold. It ensures food safety that they are set to operate at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Once a bottle of wine gets too cold in a food fridge, the aromatics could get subdued alongside the tannin, which mutes the wine and doesn’t taste properly,” he explained.

If a food fridge is your only choice, Segelbaum offered a simple solution: “Before consuming, remove it from the refrigerator 10 to 15 minutes in advance and allow the bottle to warm up a little.”

Freezer: Fleming is also not against using the freezer for white or sparkling wine if you require a last-minute fix. “Regardless of what route you’re taking, don’t forget your bottle,” Fleming said. “When placing the bottle in the refrigerator or freezer, set a 30-minute timer on your phone.”

The great outdoors: For people who live in colder climates, Douglas has an easy trick: “Put your bottle out on your back porch for an hour on a chilly day if you live in the north.”

How Cold Should Red Wine Be?

“It’s all about the perfect equilibrium,” said Rebel Rebel’s natural wine bar’s wine director, Maia Fleming. Depending on the wines’ needs for temperature, she keeps them in various refrigerators.

Red wine is best served at least a little chilled. “55 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit is the ideal temperature for most reds, especially low-ABV and light reds that can be chilled even longer and served cooler, much cooler than a typical red,” Fleming explained. “[The French Beaujolais, which is currently in season, serves as one illustration.” (Check for wine cooler)

Based on her experience working at the wine bar, Fleming also offered her personal recommendations for chilling and serving red wine. “Because the serving glass will slightly warm the wine, we store our wines a little cooler than the ideal serving temperature.”

Storing Red Wine

Regardless of variety, red wine should be kept refrigerated to prevent spoilage. Although it takes longer than, say, fresh fruit to develop off flavors and aromas, even alcohol eventually goes bad. This concept makes sense when you think about a conventional wine cellar. Around 55 degrees is the ideal temperature for keeping anything in great shape for later consumption, from California Pinot Noir to Italian Cabernet Sauvignon. This temperature is found underground or in cool caves.

You might be fortunate enough to have a basement where you can keep it at 55 degrees year-round, but most people don’t. It’s best to solve this problem with a dedicated wine refrigerator in which you can store your bottles of their sides are burgundy. A separate wine refrigerator is effective and can keep your favorite reds for months or even years at a time. Your standard kitchen refrigerator needs to be kept much colder than this.

Check the post for more red wine storage tips.

Serving Red Wine

The general consensus is that red wines taste their best when served at room temperature, despite the fact that the ideal temperature for wine storage is a cool 55 degrees. This is a great place to start since many people prefer a warm red with meals, especially when paired with hearty meats like steak or duck.

If you dig a little deeper into recommended serving temperatures for red and white wine, though, you’ll find that each variety has its own ideal temperature — not all red wine is created equal. Within the color category are subcategories that describe the wine’s body. Body refers to how a wine tastes in your mouth, whether it is heavy and thick or light and thin. This feel, in turn, is typically correlated to the alcohol content of the wine. Generally speaking, different grape varieties fall into different categories of body:

  • Full-Bodied Reds:Bordeaux, Burgundy, Cabernet, Red Zinfandel, Shiraz, as well as wines with an alcohol content greater than 13.5%, fall under this category.
  • Medium-Bodied Reds:This group includes many blended red wines from Spain made from Cabernet Franc, Grenache, Malbec, Merlot, and Rioja. The average alcohol content ranges from 12% to 13.5%. (Check for the wine making process)
  • Light-Bodied Reds:Despite their dark hue, Pinot Noir, Chianti, Barbera, and Beaujolais are lighter wines. Reds with a 12% or lower alcohol content fall into this category.

The more full-bodied the wine, the warmer it should be served after you divide your reds into groups according to their body/alcohol content.

Room temperature is actually ideal for full-bodied red wines, provided you maintain this temperature year-round at 64 to 65 degrees. You’re not alone if you think that sounds a little cool. Many people prefer 68 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit indoors, which is significantly warmer than the recommended temperature for wine.

The result? Even a “room temperature” wine may be at its best a bit colder than you have been led to believe.

A Note About Personal Preference

In the end, there isn’t really a right or wrong way to drink red wine. It’s acceptable for some people to prefer chilled wine while others prefer warm wine. It will be easier for you to serve your red wine at a specific temperature if you have a firm grasp of the best practices for chilling red wine from the outset, but only experience and experimentation will reveal what you actually enjoy. Fortunately, experimenting with how your wine tastes when served at various temperatures can be a lot of fun!

You will have the knowledge necessary to set the thermostat on your wine fridge once you determine your preferred serving temperature for various bottles of red wine. This will ensure that your wine is always chilled to the proper level before you pour.

Ask them to try it if they object to you drinking a red beverage with a little extra chill. Due to our ever-warmer perception of what “room temperature” should be, most people end up drinking red wine warmer than they should, so they will likely be pleasantly surprised by how much more flavor comes out of a slightly cooler glass of red wine.

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