Erik Neilson on March 17, 2017 0 Comments As with anything else that gets people engaged in heated conversation, the subject of wine is one loaded with misinformation. Be it out of superstition, confusion or otherwise, wine “experts” often make strong assertions that pigeonhole the way people end up enjoying the beverage. One of the most common misconceptions that all red wine needs to be served at room temperature, and all white wine needs to be chilled. There are plenty of instances when these guidelines make sense, until you encounter a bottle of red wine that practically begs for 20 minutes in the fridge. Think all reds should be served at cellar temp? Think again. Here are 8 red wines that benefit from being chilled, even if just slightly. 1. Lambrusco When it comes to wines that are exceptionally light in body yet still capable of carrying huge amounts of flavor, Lambrusco takes the cake. First introduced by the Etruscans, Northeastern Italy’s Lambrusco grape leads to a beautiful sparkling wine that receives its bubbles from a secondary fermentation in the bottle. While many Lambruscos are allowed to complete fermentation, winemakers often halt the process so as to provide some residual sugar in the final product, lending the wine a light, delicate sweetness. Because of its body and the fact that the wine can be off-dry, Lambrusco does extremely well with a bit of chill. Bring the temperature down a few degrees and serve Lambrusco in a goblet alongside a meat and cheese board for best effect. 2. Beaujolais Wines made in the Beaujolais region of France are sought after by collectors for many reasons. Many wine drinkers are familiar with French Beaujolais, which gained quite a bit of traction years ago with the global excitement over Beaujolais Nouveau. Typically made from the Gamay grape, red Beaujolais tends to be very light in style, with low amounts of tannins and, typically, lots of acidity. Due to the lean nature of Beaujolais, some of its flavors can remain relatively muted when served without any chill. 15-20 minutes in the refrigerator, and the fresh, sour cherry characteristics of Beaujolais and the Gamay grape are allowed to shine. 3. Pinot Noir Pinot Noir is an interesting grape, in that it’s capable of showing itself in a number of different ways. New World Pinot Noir, for example, tends to be extremely fruit-forward and fresh on the palate, while Old World takes on the grape are dustier and slightly more complex. While the latter can be quite nice when chilled, the former will actually be a better wine chilled than if drank straight from the cellar. Since most Pinot Noir is relatively high in acid and tends to feature a medium amount of tannins, its complex flavors of roses, currants and fresh plums awaken once the wine has undergone a slight chill. For best results, stick with a New World Pinot Noir from Washington or Oregon. 4. Cabernet Franc Once considered a humble blending grape and nothing more, Cabernet Franc is currently gaining quite a bit of traction — especially in the natural wine world. It tends to be medium in body, showcasing unique savory flavors of bell pepper, crushed gravel and strawberry. More and more, single-variety Cabernet Franc is beginning to pop up on shelves around the world, much of which is produced in Southwestern France. That being said, examples of Cabernet Franc can be found in Chile, Argentina and California’s Central Valley (CV). CV Cabernet Franc is an excellent candidate for chilling, as its roasty bell pepper flavors will practically jump out of the glass once it’s cooled down a bit. 5. Frappato Few red grapes are quite as capable of showcasing oceanic terroir quite like Sicily’s Frappato. One of the lightest reds to come out of Italy, Frappato is reminiscent of fresh strawberries and framed by an intense minerality that brings to mind the Sicilian coastline. Almost as light in color as Rosé, Frappato deserves a similar treatment when serving. The mineral-laden qualities so many people love about Frappato are able to come out in full force only if the wine has been chilled slightly—just avoid serving it too chilled, which will mute the flavors and go against the results you’re aiming for. 6. Barbera Staying in Italy, another wine worth chilling at least momentarily is Barbera. The third-most planted grape in Italy, Barbera is exceptionally popular both in that country and abroad, loved mainly for its lack of complication and discerning quaffable nature. Most Barbera is meant to be enjoyed alongside a bowl of pasta or a slice of pizza, and its fresh tomato flavors are accentuated when the wine is allowed to cool down for a period of time. Don’t look for an overwhelming amount of complexity with Barbera—this is an easy-drinking grape for everyday enjoyment. 7. Zinfandel Zinfandel gets somewhat of a bad name among casual wine drinkers, primarily because they associate the grape with a wine called “White Zinfandel.” White Zinfandel is actually a sugar and preservative-laden product derived from Zinfandel grapes—is it not Zinfandel, which many people refer to as California’s flagship grape. Some Zinfandel can be unbelievably intense, concentrated and complex, benefiting from years if not decades in the cellar. Others, however, find themselves on the other end of the spectrum — bright, fresh and jammy, begging to be drank immediately. This is the type of Zinfandel you want to chill slightly prior to drinking, as a drop in temperature will bring out the Zin’s fruit-forward characteristics. 8. Grenache Grenache is similar to Zinfandel in that significant variation can be expected from one producer to another. A well-structured Grenache that has been produced with the intention of aging for many years should probably be served at cellar temp, but what about examples of the grape that are fresher and more lively. These young Grenaches are ideal when given just a bit of chill, and their white pepper characteristics tend to really come out once the wine has been cooled down. So don’t just assume that all red wine should be served at room or cellar temp. Cool down one of the styles above, and you’ll quickly find that this age-old assumption is flawed to say the least.