Everything You Need to Know About Chillable Reds

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And the best bottles to drink.

‘Chillable reds’ have been garnering a lot of attention lately and it’s really no surprise why. What’s not to love? These easy-drinking wines are low in tannins, deliciously fruit-forward, and are loaded with tons of natural acidity. In short, these bottles are the goldilocks of viticulture—no matter what the location, weather, or food on the table, these wines tend to be just right. 

So what happened to serving reds at ‘room temperature,’ you may ask? Great question. Until recently, (that is, prior to the days of central heating and air conditioning), average room temperature was much lower than it is today. Generally speaking, average room temperature hovered around 55-60 degrees Fahrenheit—AKA, cellar temperature. As technology ramped up, so did average room temperature, though people continued to drink their wines at said base (which now often clocks in over 70 degrees!) Not ideal for having red wines show their best. 

Related: The Best Red Wines to Drink This Year

Although most reds will benefit from a slight chill, certain wines come to life when sipped a bit cooler. We’re talking wines with high acid, low tannins, and more fruit-driven flavor profiles than their earthier and fuller-bodied counterparts. Not sure what we mean? Here are a few key varieties to look out for.

Gamay


Courtesy Wine.com

In the realm of chillable reds, Gamay undeniably reigns king. This high-acid grape is best known for its backbone role of the vibrant, energetic wines of Beaujolais, though the variety is beginning to find its footing worldwide. We recommend tasting a classic expression from one of the natural wine greats of Beaujolais, then diving into a New World example for a delicious side-by-side. 

Bottles to try: 

Clos de la Roilette 2019 

Marcel Lapierre Morgon 2019

Pax Sonoma Coast Gamay 2019

Pinot Noir


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Similar to Gamay, pinot noir-based wines come to life when served slightly chilled. The energetic acid found in pinot noir only becomes more refreshing when popped in the fridge for ten or so minutes. These wines are generally a bit earthier than their Gamay-based counterparts, and come to life when served alongside a variety of foods (our top pairings include game birds, mushroom-based sauces, and vegetarian casseroles). 

Bottles to try: 

Scribe Carneros Pinot Noir 2017

Chacra Barda Pinot Noir 2018

Grenache/Garnacha


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Potato, po-tah-to, right? Whether garnacha (Spain) or grenache (basically everywhere else) finds its way into your glass, rest assured that a chill will only bring the wine’s candied, fruit-driven flavors to life. The slight pull from the wines’ approachable yet noticeable tannins will equally feel more softened when served slightly cold. Pair with braised meats, charcuterie boards, or Taco Tuesday favorites. 

Bottles to try: 

A Tribute to Grace Grenache 2017

Comando G Rozas 1er Cru 2018

Pineau d’Aunis


Courtesy Wine-Searcher

Never heard of pineau d’aunis? Now’s a great time to get to know this delicious grape. Hailing from the Loire Valley, this acid-driven grape is known for producing wines loaded with flavors of cherries, white pepper, and fresh cut herbs. Serve chilled and sip solo, no food necessary—think of this light-bodied wine as a darker-hued replacement for pre-dinner bubbles/aperitifs. 

Bottles to try: 

Clos du Tue-Boeuf Pineau d’Aunis 2019

Les Athlètes du Vin Pineau d’Aunis 2018

Cabernet Franc


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Love cabernet sauvignon? Then you need to try one of its parent grapes, cabernet franc. This peppery, earth-driven grape is cultivated all over the world, though its most popular expressions come from France’s Loire Valley, California, and Bordeaux (the latter of where it’s generally used as a blending component). These food-friendly bottles are perfect for serving chilled and sipping alongside beef, roast duck, or vegetable-heavy quiches. Looking to relive your last Parisian bistro experience? Grab a bottle of cabernet franc, pop it in the fridge for 10-15 minutes, and get ready for a delicious trip down memory lane. 

Bottles to try: 

Leah Jorgenson Southern Oregon Cabernet Franc 2017

Catherine & Pierre Breton ‘Franc du Pied’ 2017