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Which red wines you should start chilling: An expert’s guide

Kate + Quarters

Australians don’t chill red wine.

When hot summer days hit, Italians love a cool Chianti, the French prefer their Bordeauxs brisk, and in Argentina they keep their La Rioja refrigerated.

But, despite temperatures tipped to reach 29° on Tuesday, most Melburnians will serve their shiraz, cabernet and pinot noir at room temperature on Christmas day.

Or avoiding red wine altogether.

So wine experts are encouraging drinkers to experiment this festive season.

“You want to be drinking (red wine) at about 18-20°,” Chris Barnes, a wine studies lecturer at Melbourne University, told 3AW Breakfast this morning.

“A rich robust red wine — what we’re talking here is a young shiraz, a young cabernet — and what you’re doing is chilling it to soften it.

“It’s warm weather, you want a softer wine, you want something a little bit easier to drink, so sure — chill it down.”

Mr Barnes recommended 10-15 minutes of refrigeration once the room temperature passes 20°.

But don’t make the mistake of taking a short cut with ice blocks.

“If you put ice in it, you’ll dilute it, and I wouldn’t want to do that with most reds,” he said.

While they had an expert on the line, Kate and Quarters also asked for the perfect wine with Christmas lunch.

His answer, without hesitation: A GSM (Grenache, Shiraz and Mourvedre blend).

“If you want an all-rounder with chicken, ham, all of these things, you don’t want something too heavy,” he said.

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