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Chilled Red Wine For Summer

{Chilled Red Wine For Summer is a long-form post. Reading time is approximately 7.3 minutes}

Warmer weather is coming as we move from spring to summer. Here in Charleston, we have already had some days in the eighties, but the real heat with humidity is just around the corner. While Gary and I could drink white and rosé wines throughout the summer, sometimes you just have to have a glass of red wine. Nothing too big and heavy, but definitely red. Some red wines are great with a bit of a chill on them. That makes them perfect for summer. So I scoured our wine coolers to see what we had and came up with this list of fantastic chilled red wine.

You may have read my post about the “proper serving temperature of wine.” This post is the exception to those general guidelines. So live a little and chill!

What Style Makes For A Great Chilled Red Wine?

The first thing to look for is a light- to medium-bodied wine. Also, look for wine with good acidity and a fruitier palate. Stay away from wines with high tannins, like Nebbiolo, Cabernet Sauvignon, or Syrah (sweaters on your teeth or a parching feeling). Tannins should be gentle to non-existent. Keep in mind that some characteristics in wine are camouflaged when chilled, while others are accentuated.  Wines made using carbonic maceration are excellent when chilled. (more on carbonic maceration below)

Chilled… NOT Cold

Chilled red wine should be served somewhere between 45°F–55°F, depending on the wine. The lighter the body, the cooler on the scale it can be served. Avoid chilling any wine until they’re ice cold. That kills the flavor and may ruin a red wine. To get your bottle to 45°F, put the bottle in your refrigerator for just 45-60 minutes depending on the starting temperature (Was it on a shelf at room temperature or in a wine cooler?). To get your bottle to 50°F-55°F, put the bottle in your refrigerator for just 30-45 minutes. Again that will depend on the starting temperature. Set a timer, so you do not forget about it.

chillable red wine
From left: Grignolino, Carbonic Sangiovese, Lambrusco, Gamay, Sangiovese, Monica, Carbonic Carignan, and Pinot Noir

Varieties that Make a Great Chilled Red Wine

The two most common grape varieties that do well with a chill are Pinot Noir and Gamay (aka Beaujolais). For me, Pinot and Gamay have a range of acceptable serving temperatures. For some, I add just a little chill and others a bit more.  The bigger-bodied styles of these wines would only get a light chill, perhaps 55°F. I would do the same with whole cluster fermented Pinot Noir as the tannins can be more pronounced in this style. Light-bodied Pinot Noir and Gamay that are more fruit-forward can handle a lower temperature, perhaps 48°F-50°F.

Here are some other varieties that can handle a good chill on them. Cinsault, Carignan, Zweigelt, Grignolino, Frappato, and of course Lambrusco. If you want to go big, varieties that have lower tannins like Malbec and Zinfandel may be just what the doctor ordered to drink with you barbequed ribs over Memorial Day or Fourth of July.

Another excellent wine to serve chilled is the dry Brachetto that I blogged back in February. You can read about it here.  Angelo Negro Vino Rosso 2019,


Lini 910 Labrusca Lambrusco Rosso

Red Sparkling Wine from Emilia-Romagna, Italy

I had my first sip of Lambrusco when I was 15 or 16 years old. This was the only wine that I ever saw my parents drink. It is crazy that my parents had Lambrusco in the house because they were not big drinkers.  So why Lambrusco? Apparently, American’s were having a full-blown love affair with Lambrusco as five of the six top-selling imported wines were all Lambrusco.  Go figure! 

To make Lambrusco, you start with at least one of the 10 different grape varieties that make up the Lambrusco family. The most popular are Grasparossa, Maestri, Marani, Monstericco, Salamino and Sorbara.  Ancellotta is another variety sanctioned for use under the Lambrusco DOC laws. Ancellotta grapes are used to add a more intense color when needed. 

Lini’s wines are renowned for their signature freshness and classic dry character.  They express bright red fruit and berry flavors are balanced by juicy minerality. It is a blend of 85% Salamino, 15% Ancellotta.

Wine Profile – Chilled Red Wine

The wine is a deep, dark purple (thanks, Ancellotta). Its effervescence is more of a frizzante versus a full-blown sparkling. This makes for a bright yet soft little tingle.  On the nose, I get black cherry,  blackberry, and prune. Gary got more of a Welch’s grape juice aroma. (Gosh, aroma memories can be so different for each of us). The flavors follow those of the nose.  Tannins are present but not out of balance. There is a nice touch of acidity right at the start, but the best is yet to come in the finish.  As your mouth waters from the acid, you may also encounter a hint of citrus flavor.
I served this wine to several friends and found that some translated the fruit flavors to sweetness even though this is a dry wine.
This wine is easy to drink and pairs beautifully with Parmesan cheese, Prosciutto, and most anything drizzled with a balsamic glaze.
Available at Bottles Superstore Mount Pleasant for $16.99 a bottle

2019 Domaine Jean-Claude Lapalu Beaujolais-Villages Vieilles Vignes

While any Beaujolais can handle a slight chill, I would reserve Beaujolais AOC and Beaujolais-Village AOC wines for a cooler 50°F-55°F chill. I would only chill any of the Cru bottlings to 55°F-60°F chill.

There’s a great nose of like red cherry, a little bit of strawberry. The aromas follow on the palate with an additional hint of rhubarb. While there is medium minus acidity, it is juicy, fresh and, quaffable. The wine is medium-bodied.  Tannins are light but perceptible. It drinks lighter than it would without a chill. And it is a wine I could drink all year round.

This wine was a big hit with all the other tasters.

Available at Edmunds Oast Exchange in Charleston for $25.00 a bottle

Side Note: Carbonic Maceration

Carbonic maceration is a red winemaking fermentation process. Or, I should say, a way to start the process of fermentation. The resulting wines end up being lively, refreshing and easy-drinking without being overly tart. They are fresh and gulpable with fruity aromatics and flavors. These wines should be served chilled, which makes them perfect summer red wines.  These all also excellent wines to share with a white wine drinker wanting to expand their palate to red wine.

If you want an easy-to-read, more detailed explanation of carbonic maceration, I suggest you read the article in Vinepair by Courtney Schiessl  – What Is Carbonic Maceration and Why Should You Care? 

Love You Bunches 2020, Carbonic Sangiovese, Stolpman Vineyards, Santa Barbara County

When I served this wine to several friends, it was a hit with most of the group. Two of the tasters had tasted it before at room temperature and did not like it, but did enjoy it chilled. For me, I love it bunches! It will be my chilled red wine porch pounder all summer long.

This wine is super easy to drink. However, one should be careful as the chuggable index from 1-10 gives this wine a solid 15.  As my friend Bryan stated, “great mouthfeel, lighter than expected, nothing overpowering, and a nice finish that leaves you and wanting more.”

Look for fresh red fruits like cherry, raspberry, and strawberry, as well as a hint of pomegranate on the nose.  This wine has no sharp edges that are out of balance with the other properties. It is soft and cushy. Look for black orchard fruit on the palate. Also, expect a fresh blast of tartness. With an ABV of just 12.5%, you have to be careful cause this wine can sneak up on you.

This wine is a must for summer.

Available at Edmunds Oast Exchange in Charleston for $25.00 a bottle and at Bottles Mount Pleasant for $26.00

Chilled Red Wine:

2017 Morgan ’12 Clones’ Pinot Noir, Santa Lucia Highlands, California

Truth be told, I like Pinot Noir at room temperature, especially in the cooler months. However, in summer, with some Pinots, a chill is perfect. This wine is a perfect example of an excellent chilled red wine. 

Chillable Red wine

No matter the temperature of this wine, I found it very easy to drink. As such, it is perfect for chilling. This wine is round and fruitful with very light tannins.

Look for dark cherry, cola, and graham cracker on the nose. On the palate, look for freshness, mouthwatering acid, and quite juicy. This is the crowd favorite so far. I can sum it up as juicy, jammy, just amazing. Perfectly chilled.

We picked this one up at the Wine Bar at Savi Cucina in Town Center Mall in Mount Pleasant. Call ahead to check for stock. It sells for $25.95. I have seen this wine at a variety of non-specialized wine retailers as well. I just can’t remember specifics.

Trevini Sangiovese, NV, Rubicone IGT, Trevini, Italy

I included this wine because when I first purchased this wine for the Under $13 Wine Challenge, I was told this wine is great with a chill.  And I must say,  he was correct. It is a perfect wine for households that drink differing styles of wine, with one person liking fruit-forward and the other loving more robust tannins (sweaters on the teeth and dry mouth). Also, at $7.99, it is, dare I say, “cheap and easy.”

You will always find this wine at Bottles Superstore Mount Pleasant for $7.99 a bottle

Chilled Red Wine:

Cardedu – ‘Praja’ Monica 2019, Sardinia, Italy

This wine came to be because of my buddy Colin at Edmund’s Oast Exchange. He is a gem with an incredible amount of wine knowledge and can always find a wine that is as close to your needs as the shop carries. His abilities are a treasure, and he is an asset to the team at EOX. He recommended this wine, and it was a perfect fit. I loved it. 

Monica is a grape variety indigenous to the island of Sardinia, off the west coast of Italy. While common on Sardinia, it is harder to find elsewhere*. Monica makes simple wines for everyday drinking. Monica delivers medium-bodied wines with gentle tannins and flavors of red berries and herbs, often with an earthy overtone.

* Go to your independent wine store with a significant selection from all regions of Italy and ask for it.

Chillable Red wine

Okay. If I could you the “f-bomb” in a post, this would be when it is acceptable. Monica is f… phenomenal. It’s juicy. On the nose, expect red fruit like cherry and raspberry. It has an enticing mouthfeel. It is dry, gently tannic, and rustic. Look for brambly wild blackberry, dark cherry with an overlay of earthiness on the palate.

This wine is upfront and unafraid of its fruit-forward characteristics coupled with rustic, old-world charm.  It is light and easy and certainly one of my favorites in the post. 

Available at Edmunds Oast Exchange in Charleston for $19.00 a bottle

La Miraja 2019 Grignolino d’Asti DOC, Piedmont, Italy

Gary and I had purchased this wine once before. It was not the same vintage, but I recalled that it is light-bodied and easy to drink.

Chillable Red wine

I think this wine was “too cold” to gather quality notes from the tasting. Therefore, I am using the tasting notes from the winemaker’s technical sheet to guide you with this wine.

Nose: Beautiful floral notes of rosehip, violet, and geranium. Delicate, bright red fruit dominated by bing cherry mingles with fresh mushroom. Palate: An underlying vein of stony minerality lends both texture and levity to this delightful bottling.

Available at Edmunds Oast Exchange in Charleston for $20.00 a bottle

2020 ‘Wiley’ Carbonic Carignan, Two Shepherds, Trimble Vineyard, Mendicino

As a wine writer and enthusiast, you see and read about wines that others in this field mention. Folks that I know and respect often talk about Two Shepherds. Wanting in on the secret, I recently bought a variety of wines from them. And talked about the most is this wine. 

I will start this by saying that this wine may be for the more adventurous wine drinker based on my brunch friends’ reaction. And with that caveat, Gary and I both loved this wine. There are many winemakers out in the world that dance to the beat of their own drum. Innate Wines is a great example of this (read about Innate from a wine dinner at Edmund’s Oast here).  After drinking three or four of his wines, I will add Two Shepherds to this category. The best way to describe this is to say that these winemakers wish to present a strong sense of place and the most straightforward expression of the fruit from that place.

The wine is unfiltered and unfined. So it appears cloudy. It is fresh and lively with mouthwatering acidity. In addition to the fruited nose and palate, there is some “funk.” Tannins are present and accounted for, which makes Gary a big fan. The acidity hits you right up front and pleasingly comes back for a lingering finish.

In addition to the more common red fruits like tart cherry, wild raspberry, and cranberry, also look for notes of dried herbs, rhubarb, dusty road, mushroom, and that barnyard funk.

Be adventurous and try this wine.

This wine is only available direct from the winery for $26.00 a bottle.

Thanks for sticking with me on this one. Now, I think it is time to relax and chill.

That is all for now.


Rick and Gary

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