Should you ever chill a red?

You've probably heard the basic rules of when or when to drink your wine chilled: whites and rosés from the fridge, reds at room temperature. But is that always the case? People are waking up to the fact that reds can be delicious chilled.

When we tasted our Lot 3: Vino Rosso Vulcanico, we loved it instantly. Filippo Mangione's combination of Nero d'Avola and Nerello Mascalese creates a ruby hued, light bodied wine, with notes of spiced cherries and red berries. We brought it to our customers and people were quickly buying a second box. Then a third. The ultimate rave review. 

We kept getting the same feedback over and over - "It tastes even better lightly chilled!". We put this to the test, and had to agree.

So, when is it ‘the done thing’ to chill a red? These are the tips we’ve picked up from our winemaker friends...

Look for reds with fewer tannins

This sounds a little ‘wine snob’, but bear with us… Tannins in wine come from the grape skins, and are what give some wines that fine-grained, grippy sensation on your teeth. High tannin wines like Nebbiolo and Cab Sav can be bold and robust, and when aged they take on a gorgeous smooth texture.

However, chilling can exaggerate the tannins and dominate the wine, making it more bitter than you'd like. It’s better to choose less tannic styles, such as Pinot Noir or Gamay (or Lot 3: Vino Rosso), so the exaggerated tannins reach the perfect equilibrium.

Choose reds with delicious, interesting aromas

Chilling any wine also helps bring floral, delicate aromas to the fore. This is why Filippo’s wine works so well… It’s full of vibrant cherries, blueberries, star anise and Parma Violets. 

Chilled isn’t the same as cold!

Even though you can chill a red, it's not the same as chilling whites. You're still looking for that "lightly chilled" point, around 10-20 mins if you're working with bottles.

Wine boxes take a little longer than bottles to cool down, but an hour in the fridge is about right. Just enough that the wine is cool and refreshing, not so much that you're dulling the flavours.

We asked Filippo his opinion on the matter, and he replied in typical style…

“In Sicily it gets so hot!! After a day out in the vineyards I love a chilled glass of my red. But honestly, my wines are about pleasure. If you love it cool, yes! If you prefer it a little warmer, fantastic!”

Cheers to that!