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Le Monde Du Vin

Red wines to “chill” with

Red wines exist to warm people up during cold winter nights. But what to do when you live on an island like Curaçao where there is no need for any warming up?

Traditionally red wines are served at room temperature and white wines cold. But how about we switch things up and start putting a little chill in our red? The idea of plunging a bottle of red wine into an ice bucket, or tossing it into the refrigerator, might be considered a crime by wine lovers, but in fact a chilled red offers all the thirst-quenching qualities of a chilled rosé or white … and then some. And you can not compare European room temperature with the one from Curacao; there is at least 15 Degrees of difference.

By chilling your wine, we mean just that, chill it. So don’t be dropping ice cubes in your wine glass; because once that ice starts to melt you will end up with a flabby glass of wine. Fifteen minutes in an ice bucket, or fifteen to thirty minutes in the fridge will do the job. If you leave it longer than this, just let it set on the counter for thirty minutes before you serve it. The goal is to cool the wine down just enough to make it revitalizing, not to turn it into a Popsicle. So the freezer is not an option!

Try a chilled version of your favourite Red zinfandels and Syrahs. Or Rhône wines such as Grenache and Mourvèdre. It also works with younger, fruitier Pinot Noirs. But don’t go overboard with the chilling of fruity wines, this can damage the wine, or mute the fruity taste to the point that it's no fun to drink. Cabernet Francs and Sangiovese blends can take a touch of cold. But drier red wines tend to lose almost all their fruit when served ice cold. And in general, the older a red wine, the less cold it can tolerate. To make things more festive you can even skip freezing the bottle and freeze some grapes instead. Next time you're faced with a hot glass of red wine on a warm night, just add a few frozen grapes. The chilled fruit won't dilute the wine or release much flavor.

If you are still not convinced about the chilled red wine idea, we’re not going to push it. But remember; don’t serve your red wine too warm. It should be served and stored at a temperature of approximately 17°C. White wines are served cold, but there is cold and then there is too cold. Your whites should be approximately between 8°C to 12°C. Colder than this and the aromas and flavours will be non existent. Keep the word “approximately” in mind. We don’t expect you to stick a thermometer in your wine glass. That would be borderline crazy!!