If you’re like most of us, you probably prefer your red wine room temperature, not chilled. But unless you’ve tried it straight from the fridge, you might be surprised to learn that some red wines are meant to be sipped this way—seriously! In fact, chilled red wines are officially a “thing” and are catching on more and more.
“It‘s a common belief that red wines should be served at room temperature, but unless the room is a pantry or cellar where it is normally cool and dark, most of our rooms are far too warm,” explains Benita Johnson, sommelier and owner at The Vine Wine Club. “Ideally, wine (all wine except sparkling should be served somewhere 52 and 55 degrees for tasting, but when we are simply enjoying a glass of vino, we typically aren’t looking for the specific flavor profile and nuanced characteristics of wine—we just want it to taste good.” Of course, personal preference reigns, so when choosing wines for your wedding, the most important consideration to make is the menu.
If you are open to and interested in trying out some chilled red wines for your big day, here are the ones that are trending and palate-pleasing, according to sommeliers.
2014 Axis Mundi Grenache/Syrah, Windmill Vineyards, $25
This beautiful blend of 67 percent Grenache and 33 percent Syrah was aged in 100 percent Neutral French oak barrels for 10 months (in other words, dry wine-loving folks, this is your new obsession). It’s heavy on the alcohol-by-volume content, at 14.4 percent compared to the average 12.5 percent, so it’s best enjoyed during the main meal at a wedding.
Wente Vineyards, Small Lot Cabernet Franc, $45
Jorge Tinoco C.S., C.S.W., sommelier at Wente Family Estates, typically stays away from cold cabernet sauvignons (although cold is better than warm in his opinion), but he finds their 2015 Wente Vineyards, Small Lot Cabernet Franc to be a much quaffable option over a cabernet sauvignon or merlot. “It must be the fragrant aromatics and good acidity of the cab franc that in my opinion just work better when cold,” he adds.
Louis Jadot Beaujolais, $9.97
This wine is made from a grape varietal known as Gamay, which is a purple-hued grape that’s popular in red wines. This particular Gamay grape wine is produced from the Beaujolais region of France making it a ready-to-drink, light-bodied wine similar to a softer Pinot with bright red fruit qualities such as raspberry and tart cherries, but with heavier earthy notes of mushrooms and smoke, according to Chantel Daves, wine director at Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse Dallas. You also can’t beat the price tag!
Chateau Combel la Serre Malbec, Cahors, France, $14
This is Stowe Mountain Lodge sommelier, Tim Wallace’s, favorite wine to chill. Malbec fans: don’t expect this to taste much like your basic grocery-store Malbec. “While most people associate Malbec with the rich, oaky, deep purple wines of a certain South American country, its birthplace is in France,” he explains. “This wine is much lighter than its oaked counterparts and just screams to be consumed in very large quantities. He recommends serving it with passed hors d'oeuvres.
7 Moons 2017 Dark Side Red Blend, $12
This darker twist on a red blend combines 7 different grape varietals (Syrah, Merlot, Petite Syrah, Zinfandel, Cabernet, Malbec and Grenache) to create a rich, easy-drinking wine fit for any occasion—even your all-important, big day. It’s darker and bolder than a basic red, especially when chilled, so it’s best served during the meal.
Akilia "Villa de San Lorenzo" Mencia, Bierzo, Spain, $16
This light mencia is one of Wallace’s favorite wines. “Winemaker Mario Rovira is somehow able to combine an incredible deep earthiness with great, bright acidity all while working in one of the hottest, driest vineyards in Spain,” he says. “Another natural wine (no added pesticides or chemicals), the light herbal flavors really sing through this when slightly chilled.” He recommends serving this wine passed around the table at the beginning of the reception before dinner.
Hillinger Small Hill, $20
This Austrian red blend is lush with a solid balance of fruit and acidity. “Plum comes to mind on the entry with light pie spices and the mid-palate offers the acidic and medium finish provided by the light tannin,” says Johnson. “One overlooked feature that makes it great for at least the caterers or wine stewards at the wedding, is its screw cap, which prevents the possibility of have a cork-tainted wine served on one of the most important days of your life.” She suggests pairing it with lamb, beef, red sauces and brown sauces.
Dirty and Rowdy "Familiar" Mourvedre, California, $33
This is the wine you want to drink to prove to your friends and family that you’re the most fun person at your own wedding. This is the wine (just look at that label!) that will have everyone saying “What is this?!?” as they go back for their second and third glasses. It’s bright and light, not overpowering fruit but definitely a glass of wine that you just want to keep going back for over and over again.
The Chook Sparkling Shiraz, $18
Of course, every wedding needs some “bling,” which is where this sparkling shiraz comes in handy. “Sparkling shiraz brings the weight of a red (full-bodied), the spiciness of white pepper, subtle sweetness of licorice and a velvety mouthfeel,” says Johnson.”Its acidity makes it a perfect food wine that goes best with red meat, game and bold cheeses.”