Why you should be drinking your red wines chilled, according to experts

Thursday, 23 June, 2022
VinePair, Samantha Leal
Red wine is misunderstood. One of the most common misconceptions is that reds are best served at room temperature.

Red wine is misunderstood. One of the most common misconceptions is that, unlike its white counterparts, reds are best served at room temperature. Not only is this not true for all (ahem, most) red wines, some varietals are actually better served with a slight chill. This makes them perfect for summer sipping, and experts agree, chilled red wines are a must alongside your warm-weather whites and rosés.

“We are used to serving many reds slightly on the cooler side,” says Paola Embry, award-winning wine director at Wrigley Mansion in Phoenix, who notes she has seen an increased interest in red wines served at a cooler temperature.

Many wine professionals credit this interest, in part, to the styles of reds that are increasing in popularity. “Over the last few years, consumers have been looking for lower-alcohol, lighter styles of red, which are the perfect style for a little chill on them,” says Jon McDaniel, owner and CEO of Second City Soil based in Chicago. “The growth in interest here is also about wanting to enjoy wine individually, something that is fresh, and refreshing.”

Michael Kennedy, certified sommelier and founder of Component Wine Company, agrees. “I’d say, in general, the wine culture in our country is skyrocketing and with it bringing new interest in non-Cab, non-Chard wines,” he says. “Sommeliers have always loved light reds like Beaujolais with a chill, but with more [younger people] getting into wine, the trend is accelerating.”

How long should you chill red wine? To what temperature?

So how does the chill affect the taste? “A wine served above 66 degrees will have an impact on the overall structure of the wine such as acid, alcohol, and flavors. It will soften the structure of the wine, and the alcohol becomes significantly more noticeable,” says Embry.

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