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Why should you chill some red wines before drinking?

Should red wine be chilled? Contrary to what you might think you know about red wine temperature, some tastes better served straight from the fridge.

Chilling likely goes against everything you’ve heard about the optimum red wine serving temperature. While room temperature is best for a full-bodied red that’s been ageing for years, chilling lighter styles can bring them to life.


Which red wines are best served chilled?

There are plenty of light-bodied, vibrant reds that benefit from time in the fridge, but lighter pinot noirs with gentle tannins take especially well to cooling down, holding their perfumed aromas and intensifying their juicy fruit flavours. Pop a bottle of Cloudy Bay Pinot Noir 2019 in the fridge door for an hour before serving and you’ll discover how enlivening a chilled red wine can be.

What temperature should red wine be served at?

Lots of people serve white wines too cold and red wines too warm, so experts advise following the 20/20 rule to get them both to optimum temperature. Pull whites out of the fridge 20 minutes before you serve them, and to put your reds into the fridge 20 minutes before pouring. As most reds should be served colder than the average insulated, centrally heated home – at about 15°C – this approach helps. But wines that benefit from chilling to 12°C will need to spend longer than 20 minutes in the fridge.

How do you chill red wine?

If you cool red wine too much and it reaches the average fridge temperature of 7°C, the aromas and flavours will become muted and the tannins will suffer, taking on a slightly bitter quality. Cooled is better than serving red wine cold, so partial chilling – such as dunking the bottle in an ice bucket or popping it into a fridge for an hour before serving – is the best approach. Avoid adding ice to the glass as it will dilute the flavour and mute the aroma.

What food can you serve with chilled red wine?

Chilled red wine is surprisingly versatile: as it’s lively, fresh, and not too tannic, it goes with anything, making it the perfect wine for when you’re serving an array of small sharing plates. Pair a chilled glass of Cloudy Bay Pinot Noir 2019 with Mediterranean-style dishes such as chargrilled seafood, antipasto grazing plates and roasted chicken.