Red wines in the summer: To chill or not to chill?

So, you read our post on drinking red wine during the summer and now you have one lingering question. Sure I can drink red wine during the summer, but should I chill my red wine in the summer? To chill or not to chill, right? Well, depends on what you are drinking and when. So lets start with why you should chill versus not chill:

Reasons to chill!

  • Its hot as hell outside, so your wine is going to be warm and not enjoyable to drink
  • It is more refreshing
  • It makes the wine feel a little bit crisper in the mouth, instead of full and velvety
  • You perceive the alcohol less (related to the sensation above)

Reasons not to chill!

  • You lose some of the subtleties in the flavor

Understanding what "chilling" wine does to the wine helps us get a grip with what we should and should not chill. Lighter bodied red wines become a whole different beast if slightly chilled. Wines like Beajolais, Pinot Noir, and even Zinfandel can become a real summer pleaser if served at slightly cooler temperatures. Lambrusco becomes a seriously fun summer slurper when chilled down, giving life to the bubbles instead of making them feel harsh. Ever had a warm soda? Thats how warm Lambrusco feels.

Fuller bodied wines do not do so well if chilled, BUT, remember that the summer is a lot hotter and your room temperature is still not quite the same. While you in no ways could want a COLD Cabernet Sauvignon, or Malbec, or Syrah, you may want to drop it in the fridge for 30 to 45 minutes to bring it back down to the desired temperature. Think "cool to the touch" on the bottle, not cold. 

Red wines in the summer SHOULD be chilled, but remember that being subtle is the trick. Full bodied red wines just need a little bit to make them enjoyable, while lighter and medium bodied wines can stand up to some serious cooling that will turn them into summer drinks worthy of any occasion. 

SO GO ON AND CHILL YOUR RED WINE! Just don't overdo it.