On a warm night, there’s nothing like a cold drink. And while you might automatically think white wine or rosé, we’re here to advocate for the charms of a chilled red.
In many European countries, it’s common to see certain red wines served out of the fridge or cooled down slightly to get closer to “cellar temperature” (55 degrees). The reds that do best at lower temps tend to be fruity and fresh, with low alcohol, high acidity, and low tannins. Cooler temperatures heighten acidity and amp up juicy notes — all good things — but they also boost the astringency of tannins, which can lead to an unappealing taste sensation if you chill the wrong red.
Below is a list of grown-in-PA varietals that taste energizing after a cool down.
The light, fruity, dry reds produced by this vinifera grape are marvelous after some time in the fridge. The brightness of the wines will get a boost, as will the fresh berry notes, while the inherent earthiness will provide balance. Serve bottles of chilly Pinot Noir at your next al fresco pizza night.
Here’s another grape with French roots that benefits from a chill. To make the grape sing in a new register, choose to chill a younger vintage with high acidity. In this situation, avoid wines that have spent time on oak since those characteristics will be jacked up by the cold and take away from the complex zing of dark fruits and spice. Serve chilled Cabernet Franc with some pre-dinner snacks such as a spread of funky cheeses or briny olives.
This popular hybrid shares quite a few characteristics with Pinot Noir: low tannins, high acidity, and vibrant red fruit flavors. Those are also traits that make a red wine especially appropriate for a cool down. As mentioned above, go for an unoaked version of this complex, herbaceous wine to maximize your low-temp flavor profile. Serve your Chambourcin with a crisp salad topped with aged cheese (a classic Caesar would be nice) or a rich chocolate-centric dessert.
Exuding quintessential grape-ness — grapey aroma and grape-juice flavor — Concord is delightful after a stint in the icebox. The cool temperature will mute some of the wine’s sweetness while amplifying its soda-like pop. Serve this alongside earthy grilled sausages and a bowl of potato salad kicked up with shaved cheddar.
This last entry is not a grape variety but a style. When you see a Pennsylvania wine advertised as “Beaujolais-style” or see the phrase “carbonic maceration” then you know you’re looking at a young, light red wine made with the goal of accentuating fresh flavors and producing a certain prickly vibrancy on the tongue. Serve these wines cold with grilled chicken and marinated vegetables.