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5 Red Wines You Can Chill

Dan Farrell-Wright Dan Farrell-Wright
5 minute read

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Red wines you can chill

Are there really red wines you can chill?

As a simple rule of thumb, yes. Read on to discover my top five red wines to serve chilled.

But I've always been told red wines should be served at room temperature, right?


Room temperature is not what it used to be. In the 1970s average room temperature was a chilly 12 °C, whereas today room temperature is estimated at a tropical 20 °C or higher.

What temperature should I serve red wine?

The serving temperature for red wine should be between 12 °C and 18 °C.

The bigger and fuller a red, the closer to 18 °C it should be served. These are generally wines with big tannins and maybe some oak ageing. Examples that spring to mind include full-bodied reds made in the south of France,  Bordeaux blends, or wine aged in barrels.

The lighter, less structured a wine is, the closer to 12 °C it should be served. For this category the wine making may be more important than the grape variety. For example, any wines made using carbonic maceration (a technique which enhances fruit flavours without adding much tannin) will be prefect red wines you can chill. Other candidates include Pinot Noir, Gamay, Dolcetto or Barbera wines.

Can red wine be served too warm?

Too warm, and we risk cooking the fruit, giving a jammy or stewed flavour to the wine. It's why red wine should never be put on the Aga to warm up before serving.

Heat can also make the wine taste unbalanced. This means that the alcohol might feel "hot" at the back of the throat, or the tannins are muted and thus the acidity seems too high.

With the efficiency of modern central heating, even big reds will benefit from twenty minutes in the fridge just before serving.

Can red wine be served too cold?

Too cold and the risk is that the tannins become exaggerated. Tannins are the compounds that make the inside of your mouth feel furry or dried out - an effect similar to sucking on an old tea bag (mmm, delicious).

The cold will also dull the aromas of the wine.

Take wines out of the cellar (or cupboard under the stairs, garage, or where ever you store them) a few hours before serving. Leave the bottle on the side to reach the correct temperature.

Don't leave it on a radiator, put it in the oven, or stand it on the Aga!

My pick of red wines you can chill

Angus Paul Pinotage Mésas 2022, Stellenbosch

Angus Paul Pinotage Mésas 2022, Stellenbosch


Mésa is an isolated flat-topped hill with steep sides, found in landscapes with horizontal strata. In Portuguese, Mésa is a table. Angus has crafted a...… read more

My first choice is a little contentious. Pinotage would generally be classified as "big" and not an obvious candidate for a chilled red wine.

However, winemaker Angus Paul chose to use semi-carbonic maceration for this wine.

The result is light on tannins and is a juicy, zippy wine with red fruit flavours and a note of bubblegum. Super delicious when served at the best temperature of 12-14 °C.

Altos de Bergasa Tempranillo Joven 2021, Rioja

Altos de Bergasa Tempranillo Joven 2021, Rioja


A vibrant young red Rioja made from 100% Tempranillo grapes. Joven translates as "young" and this style of Rioja is a fruity, simple, pleasing and...… read more

This Rioja is another slightly left field suggestion. You might think of Rioja as a wine aged in oak, which is not a red wine you can chill. This selection is Joven (or young) wine which has no oak ageing.

Visit the tapas bars of Spain and joven wine is served by the gallon straight from the fridge.

Bright and intense wild blackberries and fresh cherries waft across the nose. On a summers' day, pop the bottle in the fridge and serve generously at 12 °C.

Whale Point Pinot Noir 2021

Whale Point Pinot Noir 2021


This Pinot Noir from North Macedonia is a pale ruby red in colour with a soft nose of redcurrants and red cherries. The palate is...… read more

Pinot Noir is probably the best known of the types of red wines you can chill.

It often produces a light, fruity style - and this wine is no exception. Time in oak barrels adds structure, and wines treated in this way shouldn't be served too cold. Here, however, the wine is entirely made in stainless steel.

The result is a wine that will be better when served at a temperature of 12-14 °C.

The palate is smooth with red fruit flavours and sweet spices. It is also an absolute bargain!

Clos du Vieux Bourg "Croix Penet" Régnié 2021, Beaujolais

Clos du Vieux Bourg "Croix Penet" Régnié 2021, Beaujolais


Régnié is the youngest of the Beaujolais crus! In fact, it wasn’t until 1988 that this appellation was officially recognised. But the newcomer in the...… read more

Wines made from the Gamay grape are never high in tannins and always fruity. They are an excellent choice for red wines you can chill.

Serve this example from the cru village of Régnié at 14 °C.

Régnié is the youngest of the Beaujolais Cru villages, only being granted AOC status in 1988. Geographically it sits between Morgon and Brouilly and its wines are noted for their fruitiness.

When chilled this is a red wine that really typifies the appellation, notes of wild strawberries, cherries, and red currants sing in the glass. Delicious.

Domaine Bel Avenir Fleurie "Poncie" 2022, Beaujolais

Domaine Bel Avenir Fleurie "Poncie" 2022, Beaujolais


This beautiful, floral red wine from an excellent vintage is typical of the Fleurie style. The colour shows carmine red with pretty purple hues. The...… read more

My final choice is possibly the best known of the Cru Beaujolais villages, Fleurie.

Throughout the summer I always have a bottle on hand, chilled to the ideal temperature, should guests arrive unannounced.

The name is evocative of the wine as Fleurie wines are generally floral. This example from Cecile Dardenelli is typical of the region. Chilling to 14 °C enhances the wonderful aromas of peonies and rose petals, all of which are enhanced by the notes of forest floor.

I hope these suggestions help you to discover the perfect cooling summer sips. Give your reds a quick visit to the fridge and enjoy a refreshing glass today!

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