Trends
Refreshingly red

Refreshingly red

Light red wines are gaining ground, and should be served slightly chilled.

Time and again, we’ve been told that red wines should be served at room temperature. The problem with this notion, I often say half-jokingly, is that it dates back to the Middle Ages when room temperatures were barely 10°C! Actually, no wine deserves to be served above 17°C or 18°C. A too-warm wine dissipates its aromas and heightens the alcohol presence. It gives the impression of heaviness, making the wine less pleasant. Not recommended!

SERVING TEMPERATURE VARIES DEPENDING ON THE WINE STYLE

Full-bodied reds are generally served at warmer temperatures. Too cold, and the tannins may turn harsh making the wine less enjoyable. For example, serve Chianti Classicos, Bordeaux Médocs or Barossa Syrahs at 17°C or 18°C. On the other hand, the lighter and less tannic the wine, the cooler the serving temperature should be. Beaujolais, Valpolicellas or Pinot Noirs, for example, are best when served at 14°C or 15°C.

FRESHNESS DEFINED

In wine-speak, freshness refers to a wine’s acidity level. We’re talking about the pleasing sense of crispness and vivacity in the wine here, not its acidic taste. If you’re offered a refreshing red wine, it can mean one of two things: a red wine that’s served chilled, or a red with low tannins and high acidity.

GIVE IT A TEST

Put a bottle of red wine – light or fullbodied – in the fridge for 20 minutes. Pour a bit into two wineglasses. The smaller the amount, the more quickly it will warm up. Taste the content of one glass at once and the other after 20 minutes. Repeat the exercise a few times. See for yourself how temperature affects the taste of the wine, and decide which one you prefer.

REDS HAVE MORE LAYERS OF NUANCE

Obviously, when summer heat becomes oppressive, we tend to avoid heavy, high-alcohol wines. But the all-year-long trend these days is for serving chilled red wine – not just light-bodied reds but also the richer ones. The idea is to soften the alcohol edge just enough to bring out the crispness of the fruit. Today’s drinkers have retreated from those jammy fruit bombs and now increasingly appreciate the finesse and vivacity of a wine instead.

Also, slightly chilled red wines pair particularly well with most foods, whereas heavy ones will quickly overwhelm them. There’s no harm in putting red wines in the refrigerator for 20 to 30 minutes before pouring. Wine warms up quickly after being poured into a glass, especially in the summer. So it’s always better to serve it on the cold side. I always keep a bucket handy, filled half-and-half with water and ice. When the bottle warms up, I dip it in for a few minutes. And you don’t need a fancy ice bucket: A large plastic or glass pitcher – or even a small pail – will do nicely.

Louis Jadot Brouilly Sous les Balloquets

$22.30

Louis Jadot Brouilly Sous les Balloquets

Red wine750 mlFrance
Louis Jadot Brouilly Sous les Balloquets

Louis Jadot Brouilly Sous les Balloquets

$22.30

Red wine750 mlFrance, BeaujolaisSAQ code : 00515841
Gerardo Cesari Bosan Ripasso 2016

$32.35

Gerardo Cesari Bosan Ripasso 2016

Red wine750 mlItaly
Gerardo Cesari Bosan Ripasso 2016

Gerardo Cesari Bosan Ripasso 2016

$32.35

Red wine750 mlItaly, VenetoSAQ code : 11355886
  • Grape variety(ies):
  • Corvina, 
  • Rondinella
Domaine Thymiopoulos Jeunes Vignes de Xinomavro Naoussa 2017

$18.30

Domaine Thymiopoulos Jeunes Vignes de Xinomavro Naoussa 2017

Red wine750 mlGreece
Domaine Thymiopoulos Jeunes Vignes de Xinomavro Naoussa 2017

Domaine Thymiopoulos Jeunes Vignes de Xinomavro Naoussa 2017

$18.30

Red wine750 mlGreece, MacedoineSAQ code : 12212220

Photography: Maude Chauvin

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