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What’s the right amount of time to chill red wine?

The Question

What is the right amount of time to chill a red? Does that timing change depending on the type of red, from light to super full?

The Answer

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Yes to the second question. As for the first part, timing can range from about 10 to 40 minutes in the fridge depending on how warm the wine is to begin with.

I tend to like my reds cooler than most people and find the typical room temperature in Canada to be too balmy for just about any wine. Generally speaking, the lighter the style, the more you should chill. Gamay and pinot noir, being lighter, tend to taste best when pretty cool, say 14 Celsius. Full-bodied cabernet sauvignons and syrahs are nice at about 18 degrees. Medium-bodied reds such as sangiovese (think Chianti) and tempranillo (Rioja) fall somewhere in the middle. It's a matter of taste, of course. But there's no excuse for serving 27-degree cabernet in August unless your fridge is on the fritz or you enjoy the heightened medicinal scent of warm alcohol.

E-mail your wine and spirits questions to Beppi Crosariol. Look for answers to select questions to appear in the Wine & Spirits newsletter and on The Globe and Mail website.

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About the Author
Life columnist

Beppi Crosariol writes about wine and spirits in the Globe Life and Style sections.He has been The Globe's wine and spirits columnist for more than 10 years. In the late 1990s, he also wrote a food trends column called The Biting Edge.Beppi used to cover business law for ROB and previously edited the paper's weekly technology section. More

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