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Chilled Red Wine: The Most Unofficial Wine Tasting Ever

Chilled Red Wine: The Most Unofficial Wine Tasting Ever

Love Rosé? You'll Love Chilled Red Wine as an Option for Fall


So What Exactly Is Chilled Red Wine?

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Call me basic, but I love rosé.  As in, serious L-O-V-E love it.  I don't care what temperature it is outside - frigid lows or the high heat of summer - I am always ready for a glass of the light pink wine.  There's something about the not-too-heavy yet not-too-acidic flavor profile that always seems to satisfy.  However, even a die hard aficionado can use an alternative or two.  Especially right after Labor Day (when I've been going hard in the proverbial rosé paint since Memorial Day) and the fall is just beginning to welcome the idea of the holidays, it's nice to embrace the deeper flavor of a red wine.  

It was when I was Googling "red wine" (I'm a regular Sherlock Holmes, I know) during an attempt to become more knowledgable about wine and wine selections in general, that I stumbled upon a new trend emerging in the wine market: chilled red wine.  

According to an article written for Decanter, by Ellie Douglas, chilling red wine is a great way to elevate certain flavors in your glass, while still embracing the essence of rosé from summer.  

Similarly, Kat Odell for Eater's Ask a Somm column interviews Matt Pridgen, General Manager and Sommelier at Underbelly Houston, where he explains that red wine is typically served at room temperature, but has a tendency to increase the taste of alcohol in your glass.  Red wine that is served too cold, on the other hand, has a tendency to mask the true flavors of the wine altogether.  This is why you'll see wine fridges that store red wine set to a temperature anywhere between 62-68 degrees Fahrenheit to bring out the essence of the wine's flavors.  

So then, what exactly constitutes chilled red wine?  And what kind of reds can you chill? During the same interview with Kat Odell for Eater's Ask a Somm, Matt Pridgen answers: 

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While most full-bodied reds are best served around 65 degrees, there are many that will benefit from a further chill closer to a cellar temperature of 55 degrees. Reds that are lighter in alcohol and tannin will benefit most from these cooler temperatures.
— Matt Pridgen, General Manager and Sommelier at Underbelly Houston

The Most Un-Official Wine Tasting Ever

To help you down the wine aisles looking for a place to start on your new chilled red wine journey, I've researched, taste-tested and compiled a list of 3 great options, narrowed down from 7 bottles of various wines.  But for the record, if the title of this article doesn't indicate this enough, I'm certainly no sommelier, and my recommendations are strictly based on Internet research mixed with personal preference (as a red wine after work connesouir), and a little help from the wine clerks at the store.  Oh, and some sweet lady in the popcorn aisle who gave me a few suggestions when she saw my cart full of wine.  If you're reading this, you rock.  

So. The Wine.

Here was my method for picking wine:

Variety: I chose one red wine for each varietal they offered at the liquor store.  A beaujolais, a cabernet sauvignon, a merlot, a shiraz, a malbec...and then I chose two pinot noirs because this was by far the biggest section the grocery store offered and full disclosure, I loooove pinot noir so I was being slightly biased.

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Price:  I also intentionally avoided any wine on the top shelf - a.k.a. the most expensive wines.  I'm sure I could do another (very enjoyable) wine tasting based on top shelf picks alone, but let's be honest, I don't have that kind of budget!  However, I didn't want a cheap wine-induced sugar headache the next morning either.  So I stayed on the 2nd and 3rd shelves where each selection was anywhere from $12-18 a bottle.  Also, as an added challenge for myself and to narrow it down even further, I only chose wines on sale.  

Availability:  Because I knew I was writing this article for all of you lovely readers, I also wanted to make sure I picked wines that I had seen before.  What good is a wine that I've written up if you guys can't go get it and experience it for yourself?  So all of these I have seen at one point or another, either at Target, or another wine or grocery store.

how to chill red wine

If you don't have a wine fridge (and I certainly don't) -- Decanter's article suggest a few tips:

Walls’ quick tips for chilling red wines

  • Place the bottle in an ice bucket filled with ice and some water for about 10-15 minutes, but do take regular sips to make sure you’re not overchilling the wine.
  • A cool sleeve, such as the Le Creuset Cooler Sleeve, is less messy. Since most of these can be flattened, they can also be used as a cushion to keep decanters of red wine cool. Alternatively, use a decanter with an ice compartment
  • If your red has been stored at around 20°C, pop it in the fridge for 25-30 minutes; set the timer on your oven or your phone so you don’t forget to remove it
  • If you’re in a hurry, 8-10 minutes in the freezer will suffice, but more gentle methods are preferable
  • Use a plastic or metal wine cooler to keep the temperature low once it’s out of the fridge or freezer, or an ice bucket filled with cool water and ice cubes

[Read more at http://www.decanter.com/wine-reviews-tastings/best-red-wine-chilled-316301/#BQfiyOosJOGt4wLY.99]

We went with the last two, bullet-pointed suggestions.  They were the easiest!  


READY. SET. WINE!

Once all seven bottles of wine were chilled, we started sampling.  (Yay!)

 

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Round One:

The Beaujolais-Villages, $10.49

vs.

Murphy Goode Pinot Noir, $13.19

vs.

Layer Cake Shiraz, $12.49

Summary: The Beaujolais was a quick winner in our first round because of it’s delicacy.  It was something I can certainly see myself repurchasing, chilled or not.  

Winner:  Beaujolais-Villages advances to the second round.

 

 

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Round Two

The Beaujolais-Villages, $10.49

vs.

14 Hands Merlot, $9.99

vs. 

La Posta Pizzella Malbec, $13.19

Summary: We both loved the Beaujolais and the La Posta so much we decided to make them both advance to the third round.  The 14 Hands was sadly a little too bitter once chilled and the others were so much gentler.  

Winner: Beaujolais-Villages and La Posta Pizzella Malbec move on!


Round Three

Beaujolais-Villages, $10.49

vs.

La Posta Pizzella Malbec, $13.19

vs.

Joshua Cabernet Sauvignon, $13.49 

 

Summary: We both still loved the Beaujolais, but the La Posta Malbec was quickly beat out by the Joshua Cabernet.  The Joshua was unbelievably good and was an immediate stand-out among the other wines we had tried to that point.

Winner: The Beaujolais (staying strong) and Joshua Cabernet Sauvignon advance with flying colors to the fourth round.  (Hello wine-stained teeth!)

 

 

 


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Round Four

The Beaujolais-Villages, $10.49

vs.

Joshua Cabernet Sauvignon, $13.99

vs.

LBD Pinot Noir, $8.99

 

Summary: Miraculously, even though the Beaujolais had hung in there for four rounds, and the Joshua was amazing…the LBD snuck in with an unexpected win over the two of them.  

Winner: LBD Pinot Noir.  It was fruit-forward and fresh.  It seemed as if it had been destined to be chilled (dramatic, much?) – it was hands down the star of the wine-tasting, unofficial or not!


 

The most unoffical winner's circle ever:

(I also just really wanted to take the below photo.)

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Third Place:  Beaujolais-Villages

Second Place: Joshua Cabernet Sauvignon

First Place: LBD Pinot Noir

 

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