It happened to me once at a bowling center.
I was bowling in a league, and felt like having a glass of wine. So I walked up to the bar and ordered a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon.
The bartender opened the refrigerator, took out a bottle, poured a glass and then asked me, “Would you like some ice?”
Uh, no. I didn’t even expect to get a cold glass of Cab.
But as it turned out, the chill turned out to be a good thing, because it muted the flavors of the wine. Once it began to warm up, those flavors were revealed, and they weren’t flavors you’d want to sip.
For one of the few times in my life, I chugged the rest of the wine — about half a glass. And I never ordered red wine from that bowling center bar again.
Now this is not to say that one should never drink a non-white wine that has been chilled. The best example would be rosé-style wines, which are meant to be fruity and refreshing.
But I have also chilled down reds. Not all reds, and not always ice cold. But sometimes the occasion calls for a red wine that’s not served at room temperature.
Two of the best examples involve Zinfandel and barbecue. The spiciness of the wine dances beautifully with the char of the grill, and if it just happens to be a hot summer day, there’s nothing wrong with chilling down the wine just a bit — not ice cold, but just enough to make it refreshing.
Another opportunity to drink red wine cold is when it’s paired with a beef or tomato-based hot soup. Simply match the wine to the dominant flavor of the soup, and then put the wine in the refrigerator for about 45 minutes before you call out, “Soup’s on!”
One of the longest and coldest winters (in several parts of the country) in recent memory may seem like a strange time to be talking about chilling wine of any hue. But spring will be here soon, and summer won’t be far behind.
Get creative with your food and wine pairing… include some chilled red wines in the mix… and you’ll be on your way to some memorable meals.
Memorable in a good way.