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When is red wine perfectly chilled?

Some winemaker started a great discussion on the Wine Butler Facebook Page on whether or not to chill red wine.

If this small group is any indication, Wine Butler craft winemakers definitely prefer their red wine chilled. Red wine at room temperature was a definite NO, and some even suggested, if necessary they were even prepared to add a couple of ice cubes to chill it down.

Not all red wines chill the same. One Wine Butler group member shared that chilling reds definitely depended on the the type of red.  “Different reds from different grapes and different regions are best served at different temperatures. A fruity red (like Valpolicella or Beaujolais) is best at a slightly lower temperature than a medium bodied red (like Chianti or Pino Noir) and a much lower temperature than a spicy red (like Bordeaux or Shiraz)” they explained.

How to chill it? Popping it in the fridge for 30 minutes seemed to do the trick for most of our readers. However, it should be left a room temperature for a few minutes while it breathes. Some Wine Butler customers were able to store their red wine in their basement acquiring the perfect temperature which is ‘cellar’, as in 17th century.

However when asked, how can you tell when a bottle of red is perfectly chilled? How do you take it’s internal temperature – our readers were stumped.

Wine Butler reached out to the following sources and is happy to share the answer.

The Wine Bible (Karen MacNeil) offered this method of chilling red wine quickly. Fill an ice bucket half with ice and half with cold water. Submerge the bottle in the ice and water until it’s neck deep. Then MacNeil gave us her recommended chilling times:

  • Chill red wines for about 5 minutes
  • Chill super fruity red wines such as Beaujolais for about 15 minutes
  • Chill white wines for 15 to 25 minutes
  • Chill Champagne and sparkling wines for about 30 minutes.

Wine for Dummies (Mary McCarthy) stated that a bottle of red wine should be cooled to 58 to 60 degrees F. And how can you tell? McCarthy writes: “You could buy a nifty digital thermometer that wraps around the outside of the bottle and give you a colour-coded reading. Or you buy something that looks like a real thermometer that you place into the opened bottle (in the wine’s mouth you might say). We have both of those, and we never use them.  Just feel the bottle with your hand and take a guess. Practice makes perfect. ”

Voila – perfectly chilled red wine.

In case you missed the conversation…

 

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