Wine has been stored in cellars for centuries, which doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone. The reasons make sense. The darkness and stability of the space provides a cocoon-like environment to protect the liquid inside. If wine gets too hot, overexposed, or sits in wonky humidity the wine can go bad.
Cellars around the world are naturally about 50 - 60 degrees F. Your kitchen or pantry is probably somewhere closer to 70 degrees F. The difference makes a difference. Red wine is often ideally served at cellar temp, not room temp. This means that most wine bottles will benefit from a little chill before consumption.
This does not have to be complicated, nor do you need a special chart, fridge, or thermometer (unless you want one) to get comfortable chilling red wine for maximum enjoyment, especially with long, warm, summer days at hand. Here are a few suggestions to make chilling your reds easy and carefree:
- Chillable refers to certain wines that may be more appealing when they are cooled off a bit before you drink them.
- Wine doesn’t taste good when it's too warm. With this in mind, most reds will benefit from a cool storage area, a quick 30-minute hit in the fridge, or 10-15 minutes on ice before consumption.
- If too cold, give the bottle a few moments after the chill to stabilize.
- Some red wines can shine when they are slightly cooler than others, and these are often the “chillable” ones. Fruit-forward and acid-driven. Juicy, low in tannins, light or medium bodied, refreshing… These are characteristics that lend well to chill.
- For a baseline, think Beaujolais (Gamay) which often projects snappy acidity and crunchy red fruit. Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, Côtes du Rhone-style blends, Zweigelt, and Dolcetto are other good examples.
- In France, these wines are called vin de soif or glou glou. These are the thirst-quenchers and highly drinkable bottles in the chillable wheelhouse.
- Don’t over spend. These wines aren’t meant to age or be an investment. They are meant to drink.
- Chillable reds are flexible. They taste great with the foods of summer: fresh veg, light cheese, charcuterie, even lean grilled meats. Meanwhile, they are also just fine without food.
- Chilled reds are more about the lifestyle of summer than wine professionalism. In fact, they are sometimes called porch pounders. Nothing too fussy here. Just fun and good taste.