Chilled red wines for summer

by Caroline Tanner

A Guide to Enjoying Chilled Red Wines This Summer

When summer rolls around, most of us instinctively reach for crisp whites and rosés to keep cool. But we shouldn’t overlook the array of red wines that are perfect served at that ‘top step of the cellar’ temperature. Lightly chilled, certain reds reveal new dimensions of freshness and complexity, perfect for balmy afternoons and sun-baked evenings.

Chilled red wine

Why Chill Your Reds?

The idea of chilling red wine might sound like sacrilege to some, but lighter, low-tannin reds, when cooled, offer a refreshing alternative to their warmer, heavier counterparts. The chill accentuates their bright acidity and fruitiness, making them a delightful choice for warm weather.

How to Chill Your Reds

Bottle of red wine chilling in an ice bucketChilling red wine is an art. Too cold, and you risk muting its flavours; too warm, and it misses the refreshing mark. Here are some tips:
Fridge Time: Place your bottle in the fridge for about 30 minutes to an hour. Aim for a temperature between 13°C and 15°C.
Ice Bucket: If you’re short on time, an ice bucket with water and ice will chill your wine faster than the fridge.
Watch the Clock: Don’t forget your wine in the fridge for too long, as over-chilling can dull the flavours.

Best Red Varietals to Chill

It’s worth exercising some caution when selecting a red to chill – not everything will benefit and you would do better to avoid higher-alcohol or highly-tannic wines However, as a starting point, here are a few varietals that flourish at lower temperatures.

Bunch on grape on vine

CÔTE DE BROUILLY 2023 Les Grillés Domaine Chevalier-MétratGamay
Gamay is the red grape grown in the Beaujolais region in France, typically light-bodied with vibrant red fruit flavours. Younger, fruit-forward wines, especially those made with some degree of carbonic or semi-carbonic maceration will have lighter tannins and a fruit-forward palate full juicy cherry and raspberry notes that is incredibly refreshing when chilled.

2023 CÔTE DE BROUILLY Les Grillés Domaine Chevalier-Métrat
£17.95 | £15.95

 

PINOT NOIR 2019 Spätburgunder Weingut BraunewellPinot Noir
Known for its elegance and complexity, a chilled Pinot Noir offers a lovely balance of fruit and acidity. Look for those from cooler climates like Oregon or Germany, where the natural acidity is higher, making them even more enjoyable when chilled.

2019 PINOT NOIR Spätburgunder Weingut Braunewell
£18.95 | £16.95

 

2022 BARBERA D’ALBA Andrea ObertoBarbera
This Italian varietal is famous for its high acidity and low tannin levels. A chilled Barbera from Piedmont is bursting with flavours of cherry, red currant, and a hint of spice—perfect for a summer picnic.

2022 BARBERA D’ALBA Andrea Oberto
£20.95 | £18.95

 

2021 CHINON Domaine Bernard Baudry

Cabernet Franc
A French classic, Cabernet Franc is light, aromatic, and wonderfully herbal. Chilling this wine brings out its strawberry, pepper and herbaceous notes, making it a superb choice for a warm evening.

2021 CHINON Domaine Bernard Baudry
£20.50 | £18.50

 

This list is far from exhaustive, so please do experiment and let us know if you make any brilliant discoveries. As a starting point, why not explore our selection of red wines ready to chill.

 

RKATSITELI QVEVRI Qvevri Wine CellarWine not?

The ‘wine of the summer’ this year is apparently orange wine. Interestingly, much of what people enjoy about orange wines: crisp acidity, a floral, fruity profile and a slight tannic grip from the skin contact, can also be found in a chilled red. Try the elegant, amber richness of the 2021 Rkatsiteli from Qvevri Wine Cellars and see how it compares to our red suggestions.

2021 RKATSITELI QVEVRI Qvevri Wine Cellar

£20.50 | £18.50

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