Can Red Wine be Chilled?

The title of this article is almost sacrilegious to some. The rules for wine have been set in stone since the beginning of time. White wines should be served chilled and red wines should be served at room temperature. But like many rules, some should be broken and there are a few reds that can be served chilled.

Among the chosen few are the light, softer reds like maybe a pinot noir, zinfandels, etc. What people tend to do is serve their white wines too cold and red wines to warm. The ideal temperature of chilled is around 50 and 60 degrees or 15 minutes in an ice bucket. Over chilling a wine changes the characteristics of the wine. By freezing or serving white wine too cold you suppress the aromas and flavors of the wine. With red wine by chilling or freezing it below these average levels you make the red wine taste more astringent and although the alcohol may be masked, you increase the dryness characteristics of red wine. You often find Europeans chill their wines especially in areas of France. A nicely chilled red on a warm day can be quite refreshing.

Now the best way to chill a wine is up to you. A majority believe a bucket of ice is the best way to chill a wine but that is up to you. I have gathered some temperatures that wine should be served at. Hopefully this will help you.

Serving Temperatures

White Wines/Rose- 45-50F or 7-10C

Red Wines- 50-65F or 10-18C

Sparkling Wines- 42-52F or 6-11C

Fortified Wines- 55-68F or 13-20C

Further reading: Picking a Wine in a Restaurant

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