Chillin' With Red Wines

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One of the largely accepted rules about wine is that whites are chilled and reds are served at room temperature.  Stacie Hunt is the director of Italian wines at Du Vin Wine & Spirits in West Hollywood and she explains that certain red wines are surprisingly delicious chilled – becoming more lively from their young age and fruit forward nature.  The more fruity tones a red wine has, the more it will freshen up when cooled below normal temperatures.  According to Stacie, the cooling eliminates some of the heaviness of these wines, keeping the flavors balanced for summer sipping.

The best red grape varieties for chilling are:  Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, Zinfandels, Dolcetto, Syrahs, Grenache (and other Rhone varietals), and youthful Tempranillo and Sangiovese.  The most important trait for chilling wines is that it be young -- older wines can be damaged by extremes in temperature.

When chilling red wines, a little goes a long way -- ice cold works for Rose wines, but will only leave the taste of tannins in reds.  The Zinfandel, Syrah, Grenach wines can take about two hours in the refrigerator (or 15 minutes in an ice bucket).  The Italian and Spanish wines prefer to be at about the same temperature as white wines, about 55 degrees.  With Pinot Noir and Cabernet Franc a little less chill is best.

Here are some of Stacie’s suggestions for summer chillin’:


•    All of the Cru Beaujolais wines are perfect.  And, the prices are easy on the wallet, at $11.00-$20.00.
•    Morgon
•    Fleurie
•    Julienas
•    Moulin-a-Vent
•    Cote de Brouilly

Beaujolais Village:
•    Louis Tete

•    Bouchard Pinot Noir – a $13.00 gem

Loire Valley:
•    The light bodied Pinot Noir and wildly aromatic Cabernet Franc are terrific choices, at around $16.00-$20.00.
•    Chinon (She-non)
•    Bourgueil (Bor-gay)
•    Sancerre Rouge

•    Sorin Rouge - A spicy, fruity beauty at $10.99


•    Young, ('04 vintage) Sangiovese comes in at under $10.00

•    The cherry bright, Dolcetto Diano d'Alba at $13.99


•    Lan Crianza at $11.99 - the Rioja region is known for its bold and spice-driven Tempranillo grapes -- the young "Crianza" (which means crib), is perfect for chilling.

South Africa

•    Wolf Trap Rhone Blend (Grenache, Mourvedre, Carignane) at $11.99


•    Tierra Zinfandel at $14.99
•    Bucklin Zinfandel at $34.99

Du Vin Wine & Spirits
540 N. San Vicente Blvd.
West Hollywood

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