Red wine bottles in a fridge

Can you chill red wine?

Summer can be hard on red wine drinkers. The temperature soars, thirsts need to be quenched, lunches get lighter. And what happens? Everyone reaches for a cold bottle of white.

That’s all well and good if you’re a white wine fan. But if you’re a committed red drinker, what do you do? Put your crianzas to the back of a cupboard and wait for winter? Get out the lemonade and hit the tinto de verano?

You could.

But as the old saying goes, “if you can’t beat them, join them”. So why not grab a bottle of red and pop it in the fridge as well?

I know, I know, right this minute you’re sitting there incredulous that I could suggest putting a bottle of your favourite Ribera del Duero in the fridge. But before you get too carried away, allow me to explain.

When you chill red wine, several things happen. Firstly, you reduce the intensity of its aromas. This is because cooler temperatures tend to suppress the release of aromatic compounds, making the wine's aroma less pronounced.

You also find that lowering the temperature of a red wine can mute or suppress the fruit flavours. So, those notes of cherries, blackberries, or plums, can become less vibrant.

And most importantly, you’ve got tannins. Red wines often contain tannins, those compounds found in grape skins, seeds, and stems. Chilling red wine can make the tannins more pronounced and noticeable. This can result in a more astringent and bitter taste.

So yes, chilling red wine can have a negative impact on the wine. But it’s usually with fuller-bodied, tannic reds. If you go for a younger lighter bodied red with plenty of fruit and less tannin, there’s no reason at all why you can’t pop it in the fridge and enjoy it fresh and chilled.

Of course, you don’t want to spend the next few weeks hunting the wine shop shelves for just the right red. So to help you out, here are a list of reds that we think are perfect for chilling down.

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