Should You Drink Chilled Or Not Chilled Red Wine?

red wine

Should you chill or not chill your red wine?

As important as stirring, sniffing, and drinking wines are, if not more so, maintaining the proper temperature for storage and serving wine. The aromas and flavors of wine will be perfect when served at the proper temperature.

Here are some suggestions for improving the pleasure of your red wine drinking.

What Is The Best Temperature To Drink Red Wine At?

High Tannin Reds (ex. Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz) = 62 – 68 F

Medium Tannin Reds (ex. Pinot Noir and Merlot) = 50 – 60 F

Low Tannin Reds (example: Beajolais and Gamay types) = 45 – 50 F

Can Chilled Red Wine Be Served?

Lighter types of red wine can typically be served at cooler temperatures.

When recommending lighter summer wines in Decanter magazine’s September 2020 issue, Peter Richards MW wrote that ‘good summer reds should be served at 10°A temperature of C-16°C (50°F–60°F).

He continued, “Don’t be afraid to pop them in the fridge for 30 minutes before serving. That’s significantly cooler than many summer days.”’

Due to the diversity of winemaking techniques, it can be challenging to make generalizations about specific wines or grape varieties.

But you’d typically find Beaujolais (Gamay) and Valpolicella Classico (Corvina) toward the cooler, lighter end of the serving temperature range.

The below graphic from Decanter’s archive shows how Pinot Noir would generally range from light to medium-bodied, with some styles of Rioja (Tempranillo) in the mid-range and then the Cabernet Sauvignon-dominant and Syrah / Shiraz wines of this world in the full-bodied band.

Should You Chill Red Wine Before Drinking It?

Red wine needs to be served cold, between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. We like to chill red wine for an hour before serving it to get it to the right temperature. In order to see results more quickly, you can freeze it for 15 minutes.

Why Drink Chilled Red Wine?

You’ve probably heard a lot of people say that chilling red wine is practically against the law.

The temperature at which you drink wine is ultimately a matter of taste.

Numerous studies have found that we typically drink our red wines too warmly. If red wine is served too warmly, the alcohol flavor will overpower the wine’s flavor (unless you’re drinking a non-alcoholic wine), making the wine taste flat and monotonous.

On the other hand, serving it too cold limits the flavors and aromas to the point where the wine’s tannins overpower them.

As a result, the wine will become extremely astringent. What a waste it would be to spend a lot of money on a premium red wine only to not be able to enjoy it because it was served too cold.

Do You Have Too-warm Red Wine?

Equally, red wine can become soupy if it’s served too warm.

Alcohol levels may feel unbalanced at that point, and the wine’s natural structure and freshness may be lost.

Personal preference plays a role in wine, but these are typically viewed as undesirable characteristics.

Many of us have probably had soupy red wine at some point, whether it was while on vacation in a warm climate or in a restaurant with an unorganized wine cellar. For a short while, don’t be reluctant to request the ice bucket.

Is Wine Better Served Cold Or At Room Temperature?

Red wine should be served at room temperature and white wine chilled, but this isn’t the whole story. Reds need to be served just a little bit colder than room temperature. Serving chilled lighter fruity reds and rose wines for up to an hour is recommended.

Expert Advice About When To Chill Red Wine

You can get into the specifics now that you are familiar with the body and serving temperatures. You’ll consistently serve red wines at the proper temperature if you set your wine fridge to the appropriate temperature for the body of the wine:

  • Full-Bodied Reds: 64 to 65 degrees
  • Medium-Bodied Reds: 60 to 62 degrees
  • Light-Bodied Reds: 55 to 60 degrees

As you can see, many sommeliers advise lightly chilling light-bodied red wine prior to serving. These red wines taste best straight from the wine cellar or refrigerator, and as you sip, you’ll notice that they warm in the glass toward the warmer end of the ideal temperature range.

In order to serve medium- and full-bodied red wines at a temperature between 60 and 65 degrees, you’ll need to take them out of storage and warm them up a bit. The easiest way to do this is to set the bottles out on your bar or dining room table 30 minutes before serving, but you can also take advantage of the convenience of a dual-zone wine fridge, which allows you to set the temperature to serving standard a few hours before your dinner.

red wine

What Is The Best Way To Heat Wine To The Correct Temperature?

There were primarily two techniques used in the past to chill red wine to the proper temperature.

Wines were typically kept in medieval European castles or wine cellars, which would have had a temperature of between 55 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit.

These temperatures are ideal for most wines, so that’s how they would be served.

Unfortunately, we no longer enjoy the luxury of castles, and there aren’t many people left who own wine cellars.

Red wines are now typically served at room temperature, which in most cases means a temperature in the mid-70s F.

Most red wines should not be served at this temperature because the alcohol flavor will obliterate all other taste profiles.

Nowadays, there are essentially only two methods for ensuring that your red wine is served at the appropriate temperature.

To achieve the ideal temperature, one of these is to cool or warm your wine just a little bit.

The other is to keep your wine in the ideal temperature range so you can enjoy it whenever the mood strikes.

Best Red Wines For Chilling

If you’ve tried drinking your red wines a little cooler as suggested above and you’re happy with the results, you might want to think about buying specific red wine varieties that are great for serving chilled. Drinking red wine in the summer can be a new refreshing experience if you seek out these varieties:

  • Chiron
  • Côtes du Rhone
  • Cru Beaujolais
  • Fichimori

To serve this way, look for any red wine from the Loire Valley in France if you can’t find these varieties locally. If you prefer to use American wines to give drinking chilled red wines a go, just pick a light wine with less alcohol and fruity flavors. Cooling the wine brings out the fruit and accentuates the crisp, reviving the quality of lighter wines. In the summer, you might discover that this is the best way to enjoy red wine; if you prefer it to white wine, you shouldn’t feel pressured to switch to something else when the temperature rises and the humidity increases!


There isn’t really a right or wrong way to drink red wine, in the end. It’s acceptable that some people prefer chilled wine while others prefer warmer wine. It will be easier for you to serve your red wine at a specific temperature if you start by understanding the best practices for chilling it. However, only experience and experimentation will allow you to discover what you actually enjoy. Fortunately, trying out different wine temperatures can be a lot of fun!

You’ll have the knowledge necessary to set the thermostat on your wine fridge once you determine your preferred serving temperature for various bottles of red wine. This will ensure that your wine is always chilled to the proper level before you pour it.

Ask them to try a red one with a little extra chill if anyone objects to you trying it. Most people end up drinking red wine warmer than they should due to our ever-hotter idea of what room temperature should be, so they are likely to be pleasantly surprised at how much added flavor comes out of a slightly cooler glass of red wine.

Read more: How to Make Red Wine Ice Cream

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