The Best Chilled Red Wines | Wine Enthusiast
Wine bottle illustration Displaying 0 results for
Suggested Searches
Articles & Content

2024 Is the Summer of Chilled Reds

When you buy something through our link, we may earn a small commission. Wine Enthusiast does not accept money for editorial wine reviews. Read more about our policy.

What’s the first beverage you reach for on a hot summer’s day when you need something cool and refreshing?  

For decades, rosé—a k a “Hamptons Gatorade”—has been hyped as the go-to drink of summer. 

But as much as we love our blush-toned bottles and the various cocktails that they have spawned, we’ve all consumed our fair share of pink-hued wines. This season, we’re craving something different. That’s where chilled reds come in. 

Chillable red wines have soared in popularity over the past few years and the available options are becoming better and more sophisticated. There are a few reasons for this, ranging from changes in the environment as well as our evolving tastes.  

Gamay—“the ultimate chillable red grape,” says Wine Enthusiast Writer-at–Large Reggie Solomon—is experiencing a boom because the varietal can withstand some of the effects of climate change.  

“Gamay shines best in Beaujolais,” Solomon says. “As global warming raises fruit ripeness and alcohol levels, one can still retreat to Beaujolais for fun and alcohol restraint. Pop a bottle of Beaujolais in the refrigerator for 20 minutes, which brings out the acidity and freshness.” 

Meanwhile, the rise of higher acid, lower abv styles of wine has contributed to a wider breadth of excellent chillable reds. “Led by the natural wine movement, red wines have been getting lighter, brighter and more glug-worthy for years,” says Wine Enthusiast Writer-at-Large Christina Pickard, who reviews wines from Australia and notes that the country is now producing reds that are particularly well suited for chilling.  

“There’re examples of this wine style from all of the nation’s 65 wine regions,” Pickard adds. “Smallfry’s Cinsault from Barossa is a perfect example: Made from a lesser-known variety—and from a region famed for its rich, cellar-worthy reds—it boasts a cute label with a creative name and heaps of crunchy, juicy ‘smashability,’ as the Aussies might say.” 

These chilled reds are wonderful on their own, but they also excel in pairings, according to pros.  

Tonya Pitts, a Wine Enthusiast writer-at-large who reviews wines from Northern California, likes McMannis Pinot Noir, from Lodi. “The rich supple dark berry notes lend themselves to a slight chill,” she says. “Pair the wine with barbecued chicken or meats from the grill—a delicious match with summertime fun.”  

Pitts also likes the “fresh, crushable and chewy red fruits” of Tizona by Bokisch Bechtold Vineyard’s Cinsault. “With a slight chill, it’s a wonderful sipper on a warm day,” she says. “More substantial than a rosé, it’s fantastic on its own or with assorted meats and cheeses. 

But really, these bottles are wonderful at any time of day or year. This is why we’ve rounded up the best chillable reds from around the globe in our buying guide below.  Take a peek.  

Georges Duboeuf 2023 Nouveau (Beaujolais-Villages)

This wine will bring a smile to your face as you taste the first-released, French vintage of 2023. Fresh black plum and strawberry dance on the nose along with pitted red cherry and macerated red raspberry. Produced in a semicarbonic style, the wine is youthful, juicy and lively. 91 points. — Reggie Solomon

$16.99 Plum Market

Stéphane Aviron 2021 Vieilles Vignes (Moulin-à-Vent)

This wine has a nose of black tea, pencil shavings, black cherry, peanut brittle, black plum and hay with a handful of dried field herbs. Firm acidity on the midpalate rides under tart black fruit and lifts the wine. This palate-cleansing wine would benefit from pairing with fattier dishes. 90 points. — R.S.

$24.94 Saratoga Wine

Johannes Zillinger 2022 JZ Velue 2.0 Zweigelt (Niederösterreich)

Fresh-tasting, this wine has a fruity profile displaying raspberry, violet and cassis notes. With a slight chill this would be a blockbuster at a party. 89 points. — Aleks Zecevic


Straka 2020 Greenschist Blaufränkisch (Burgenland)

This bottling is an enticing red, with corduroy-like tannins and mouthwatering acidity constructing the frame. The core starts off with juniper notes leading the way to wild cherry and damson plum fruit. The long, iron-edged finish presents a firm conclusion to the experience. 91 points. — A.Z.

$23.00 Wine Monger

Nic Rager 2022 Pinot Noir (Vin de France)

The nose offers aromas of rose petals and a hint of dried herb. Flavors of plum, strawberry and vanilla lead the generous fruity finish, and firm, medium tannins shape the palate. 89 points. —Jacy Topps

$9.99 Empire WIne

Maison Ventenac 2020 Paul Cabernet Franc (Vin de France)

The nose is loaded with black fruit and vanilla, followed on a palate robust with raspberry and black currant, subtle spice notes and supple tannins. 89 points. —J.T.

$24.98 Martin's

Tizona by Bokisch 2022 Bechtold Vineyard- Cinsaut Cinsaut (Lodi)

This wine is fresh, crunchy and chewy. Baked red plum, black cherry and raspberry interweave with strawberry, orange zest, cinnamon, brown sugar, chicory, bittersweet chocolate and fresh coffee. It has a dry finish. 90 points. — Tonya Pitts

$39.00 Bokisch Vineyard

Smallfry 2023 Starry Starry Night Cinsault (Barossa)

A vibrant just-squeezed cranberry juicy color, this is full of whole bunch crunch (think: fistfuls of savory herbs and white peppery spices alongside brambly red fruit still on its stems) from aroma to palate. Lightweight and smudged with skins-y tannins, it veers a touch funky at the finish, but is overall a juicy, porch-pounding number to knock back slightly chilled. 90 points. — Christina Pickard

$30.00 Marigold Wines

Lost Sierra Wine Co. 2022 Singletrack Pinot Noir (Russian River Valley)

Candied raspberry and dried cherry aromas waft from the glass of this wine. The palate shows a ton of fresh berry character with salted caramel and fried shiitake mushroom flavors that linger long after the first sip is gone. This wine is light on its feet and feels minimal, but with enough tannin for aging and enough acid for balance. 92 points.— Tom Capo

$40.00 Lost Sierra Wine Co.

McManis 2022 Pinot Noir (Lodi)

This wine is rich, concentrated and complex with blue and black fruits. The elegant texture is fresh, offering ripe strawberries, blackberries, persimmons and orange zest intertwined with dried herbs, cloves, dried roses and a long finish. Pair with chicken, fish and hearty dishes. 92 points. — T.P.

$14.00 McMannis Family Vineyards

Planeta 2022 Frappato (Vittoria Frappato)

Hibiscus tea, freeze-dried strawberry, wild cherries, warm bricks and candied orange peel on the nose meet a subtle earthiness. On the palate, a squeeze of orange and a sprinkle of salt underscore both the sweetness and the astringency of the fruit, while tannins and acid sit back and relax. 92 points. — Danielle Callegari


Our Chilled Wine Coverage

  • To better understand which red varietals lend themselves to chilling and why, read through A Guide to Chillable Red Wine.” 
  • Beaujolais is one of the great easy drinking wines. In “There’s More than One Way to Beaujolais,” discover what makes it so wonderful. 
  • In “Golden State Gamay Is Here to Stay,” Wine Enthusiast Writer-at-Large Matt Kettmann explores how California producers are turning to the varietal because of climate change. 
  • Master the art of finding the perfect temperature for your warm-weather bottles through The Do’s and Don’ts of Chilling Wine.” 
  • Bringing your chilled bottle outside? Consider one of Wine Enthusiast’s break-resistant glasses
  • Looking to keep your bottles at their precise peak temperature? The right wine cooler will do that for you. 

In the Shop

Wine Enthusiast Outdoor Portable Cooler and Table