‘Chilled reds?!’, you ask, mouth agape, ‘… but the days are so short and the nights so long - our peak chilled red days are surely behind us!’ - well, my friends, we’re here to tell you that they don’t have to be. Next time you’re bundled up next to the heater at night, give your old chilled red friend a chance - it just might surprise you.
What characteristics make for a great chilled red? Why, we’re glad you asked - chilled reds can be a real treat because of the taste experiences that we gain by decreasing the serving temperature. Fruit character gains more tension, and the structure becomes more crisp (whether that be in acid or in tannin). Generally, the best candidates will have lower tannin levels, more fruit-forward profiles, more acid, and forthcoming aromatic profiles.
Depending on the winemaking style and the region’s climate, there are some grape varieties that can lend themselves to this more than others - think Gamay, Pinot Noir, new world Grenache, Zweigelt, Bläufrankisch - but there are no hard and fast rules. In terms of winemaking, a process like carbonic maceration (like you’ll find predominantly in Beaujolais, but increasingly throughout the world with a number of different varieties) lends itself to creating wines that can be excellent for chilling.
Lots of the red & white blends that you’ll spy in the Lo-Fi sections of our stores lend themselves beautifully to chilling, with the aromatic profiles of the white grapes complimenting the juicy fruit character of the red varieties.
Want to start somewhere? Have a chat to the folks at your local Blackhearts & Sparrows, or head on over to some of our chilled red suggestions online.