It’s been common knowledge for years.
When you have a bottle of Italian white wine, you chill it. The wine tastes best when it’s cool.
But when it comes to Italian red wine, chilling is out of the question. That’s why you don’t store it in the fridge. Red wine is best when it’s served at about room temperature.
Everybody knows that, right?
Now, what if we were to tell you that this common knowledge isn’t exactly a strict rule?
The fact is that you can definitely chill your bottle of Italian red wine. And doing so may even unleash some flavours that you’ve never experienced from the vintage before.
The trick lies in how to chill it.
You can’t just throw it into the fridge like you would a bottle of white. A little more care is required if you’re going to chill a bottle of red and still get to enjoy it.
That’s where this article comes in. We’re going to look at a few tips for chilling Italian red wine so that you get a completely new experience the next time you pour yourself a glass.
Tip #1 – The Fridge is an Option…
…But not for too long. You’re still going to store your red wine outside of the fridge.
The big difference comes when it’s time to open the bottle and drink the wine. Before you do, try popping it into the fridge for about 15 minutes.
This will bring the wine just below room temperature, which means you get that chilled effect without compromising the integrity of the drink.
Can’t wait for 15 minutes?
You could risk putting the wine in the freezer. But if you’re going to do that, you can’t leave it in there for more than a couple of minutes. You’ll completely spoil the wine when all you’re trying to do is chill it.
Tip #2 – The Ice Bath
You’ve seen the ice bath in restaurants whenever you order a bottle of white or sparkling wine.
You can use the exact same trick to chill your red wines. Just pour some ice and water into a bucket. Sprinkle a little salt into the mix to stop the ice from sticking. Then, put your bottle of red in the water.
Again time management is the key here. The bottle of red should stay in the bucket for no more than 10 minutes. Any longer and you risk chilling it so much that it loses its integrity. When you’re ready to pour, remove the wine and keep it out of the bucket. It only needs to go back in again if it warms back up to room temperature.
Tip #3 – Use a Wine Chiller
This is the option for those who have a little bit of cash to spend on their wine habit.
The key difference between a wine chiller and a refrigerator is that you get full control over the temperature with a chiller. That means you can set the perfect temperature that you want to chill your red wine too and leave the bottle in there for longer.
So, what’s the ideal temperature?
It’s anywhere between 60 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit (about 15 to 18 degrees Celsius).
Those who know their wine cellars will be able to tell you that this is about the temperature that those environments go down to.
The key is that you’re pulling the wine just a little but below room temperature, which is usually in the 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit (about 21 to 24 degrees Celsius) range.
A chiller is a great idea if you can’t afford to build a full-on wine cellar in the house. And let’s be honest…how many of us have the space for an actual cellar.
The great thing about this solution is that you don’t have to watch the clock. Just set the temperature and you can leave the bottle in the chiller for as long as you want.
Tip #4 – Ice in the Glass
We can already here the red wine traditionalist cursing in our general direction.
Putting an ice cube in a glass of wine is heresy. You’re adding water into the mix, which completely changes the complexion of the wine.
But here’s the thing…you’re not going to leave the ice cube in the glass. Instead, you’re just going to put it in for a couple of minute until the wine cools down. Then, you’re going to take it out again.
That means very little water actually goes into the wine.
Of course, you’re going to need something to grab the cube with. It doesn’t do to just shove your fingers into the glass to remove it. That will do more to damage the wine’s integrity than almost anything else that you could do.
Tip #5 – Cool, Dry, and Dark
Finally, we come to the actual storage.
Having a specialised wine chiller allows you to take care of this. But if you can’t afford one, you need to know how to store your Italian red wine so that it maintains its quality.
Cool, dry, and dark are the three key rules.
As mentioned, you’re looking to store the wine in temperatures that are a little below standard room temperature. You also want to keep it in a dry place to prevent moisture from getting into the bottle and affecting the drink.
As for dark, there are two reasons why you don’t want light hitting the bottle. For one, it affects the quality of the wine. Too much exposure to sunlight changes the liquid’s chemical composition.
Secondly, what does sunlight bring with it?
Keeping your red wine in the dark means there’s no chance of you warming the wine up above where it should be.
The Final Word
Chilling red wine may not be for everybody.
But it’s certainly something that you can try if you’ve never done it before. And with these tips, you’ll be able to do it without damaging the integrity of the wine.