7 best chilled red wines
Pinot noir, cabernet franc and Beaujolais are good places to start
For those in the know, red wines don't always have to be served at room temperature, while whites must be cool. Our European counterparts often serve simple reds chilled, but it seems to have taken longer for the UK to catch on.
Lighter skinned grapes such as pinot noir, cabernet franc and Beaujolais are the best place to start. An hour or two in the fridge to take the temperature to 12C to 14C should suffice. You don’t want to over-chill the wine, otherwise you could lose some of the wonderful aroma.
Heavier, full-bodied reds with lots of tannin won’t perform as well chilled, so leave the barolo in the wine rack for now.
A chilled red works wonderfully with barbecued food or as an aperitif. Charcuterie is another dream combination - just close your eyes and imagine you’re in a rustic tapas bar.
Here are the best chilled reds to drink right now.
El Abasto Malbec Bonarda 2016 12%: £12.50, Harvey Nichols
Doing exactly what it says on the tin (or the label in this case), this sexy Argentinian malbec is best enjoyed chilled to really bring out the lively fruit. Full to the brim with juicy cherries alongside more savoury notes of black pepper and dried herbs, this was named as one of Decanter Magazine’s 30 Great New World Buys and we can certainly see why. It’s just the ticket with a plate of charcuterie or a selection of cold cuts.
Château de la Roulerie Le P’tit Cab 12.5%: £16, Borough Wines
This is a young, fresh, fruity wine made from 100 per cent cabernet franc grapes grown in the Loire Valley. The winery and vineyard were fully converted to organic practices in 2015, which shows in this pure style with soft tannins. Borough Wines suggests serving with Lebanese food, which would work a treat. It’s certainly light enough to pair with white meats, too. Not only is this wine organic, it’s also suitable for vegans and, during the summer, we’d encourage you to try lightly chilling before serving.
Definition Beaujolais Villages 2016 13%: £9.99, Majestic
Beaujolais is often held up as the perfect example of a chilled red, and the Definition from Majestic is the final word on the matter. It uses only the finest gamay grapes, which gives a depth and complexity you wouldn’t expect to find in such a light wine. Smooth and fruity, expect dark cherries and a delicate floral aroma.
Rosade Furlane Merlot Venezia Giulia IGT: £11.30, Honest Grapes
Soft and easy to drink but certainly not lacking in character, this fruity little number from Italy really delivers with its rich plummy flavours. We think it represents good value at this price, and after an hour in the fridge lends itself to almost anything – so no need to keep for special occasions.
Marks & Spencer Palataia Pinot Noir 2017: £11.50, Marks & Spencer
Turning the traditional on its head is M&S with this German pinot noir that happily holds its own against many of its Burgundian equivalents. Wonderfully aromatic, even after a light chill, with a well-balanced touch of oak, this medium bodied red has a slightly gamey finish that will be absolutely perfect paired with grouse when in season.
Andre & Michel Quenard Chignin Gamay 2017 12.5%: £16, Roberson Wine
This picturesque vineyard is nestled between ski resorts in the Savoie region – an area becoming increasingly popular with sommeliers. Aside from getting a mouthful of juicy red berries, you’ll also find this a refreshingly light red with flinty minerality which really comes to the fore with a quick chill.
Domaine Louis Claude Desvignes Morgon, La Voûte Saint-Vincent 2016 13%: £15.95, Berry Bros. & Rudd
Well-structured acidity makes the mouth water and aromatic violet fills the nose in this red from France’s Morgon region. It’s an easy-drinking style without being a pushover, pairing well with everything from barbecued meats and charcuterie, to grilled asparagus and meaty fish.
The Verdict: Best Chilled Red Wines
The El Abasto Malbec Bonarda has been awarded our Indy Best Buy as we think it’s the perfect introduction to the world of chilled reds, offering a lot of bang for your buck.
Stacey Smith is the founder of food & drink website Crummbs
IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.