While many red wines display the best flavor and bouquet at just below room temperature, most people prefer to drink sparkling red wines chilled. And for good reason. Chilled red bubbles are an absolute delight. Show these bubbles some respect and learn how to get them cold and keep them cold so you can enjoy them at their very best.
Basics of Chilling Sparkling Reds for Wonderful Bubbles
All sparkling wines need to be chilled, whether they are red, white, rosé, or skin-contact. The cooler temperature maximizes the bubbles and gives the wine a delicious crispness. However, when enjoyed too cold, some of the delicate flavors can become muted and easily overshadowed. After chilling, it's best to let wines sit out for about 10 minutes before serving. This gives them a minute to warm up to the party and allows the flavors to really shine.
How to Chill Sparkling Reds in the Refrigerator
When it comes to drinking chilled wine, planning ahead is your best bet. It will take a minimum of two and half hours in the refrigerator to get your bubbly red ready for drinking. While the refrigerator isn't a good place for long-term wine storage, a few days at fridge temp won't hurt. So if you hit the bottle shop on Thursday in preparation for your dinner party on Saturday, you can go ahead and throw the wines in the fridge when you get home.
If you completely forget to chill your bubbles and have guests coming over expecting you to greet them with a glass at the door, don't panic. Stuff the bottle in the freezer for 30 minutes for a rapid chill. IMPORTANT: don't forget about it! If left in the freezer, you'll likely have a big mess to clean up the next time you open the door. If you are rapid chilling, set a timer.
Keeping Sparkling Red Wine Chilled in an Ice Bucket
Once the bubbles are cold, you want to keep them cold so you can pour a refreshing glass at any time. The best way to do this is by using an ice bucket. Fill the bucket with ice and then add cold water half way up the side of the bucket. About a 2:1 ration of ice to water. You'll want to keep a cloth napkin or towel nearby so you can give the bottle a quick wipe down when you go to pour round two. The ice bucket is another great option to chill your wine down from storage temperature. Pop it in the bucket, just as described, and wait roughly 30 minutes.
Chilling to a Specific Temperature
All types of sparkling wine should be chilled to the same temperature. The ideal temperature for serving sparkling wine is around 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius). Because most refrigerators are about 40 degrees Fahrenheit, it's essential that you remove the wine and allow it to warm up for a few minutes before you serve it. This allows for the flavors to loosen up and for the wine to really express itself.
Sparkling wine lends a festive air to any gathering or a pick-me-up to any weeknight. Bubbly red wines offer a beautiful and complex alternative to the traditional white and rosé varieties. Whether you select a sweet sparkling wine or a drier option, you'll find that chilling your bottle of bubbles appropriately will make for a great glass of wine.