I remember when I first started drinking wine I always wanted ice cubes added to the glass. At home that was never a problem, but when in a restaurant I would ask for ice in my glass of wine and I would get strange looks and sometimes I was asked “are you sure?”.
I really didn’t like the taste of the wine unless it was ice cold. Back in the ’80’s I usually ordered a Chablis which I really didn’t like much so it had to be ice cold for me to be able to drink it.
Looking back now, I’m glad I was not drinking red wine. As a general rule white wine is served chilled a bit more than red wine.
This post is not to judge anyone who enjoys ice in their wine, it’s really o.k. especially if you enjoy it. I’m only here to share a little Wine 101 about chilling wine and the serving temperature for red and white wines.
There is a reason why the temperature of the wine makes a difference on how the wine tastes. Experts recommend that wines be served at specific temperatures in order to enhance the wine’s flavors and it’s complexity.
If a wine is too cold it looses the fruity flavors of the wine and if served too warm the tannins and alcohol become too strong and pronounced and the fruit flavors just get lost.
White wine should be served chilled at a temperature between 45 to 55 degrees. How do you know when that is the right temperature?
If the bottle of wine has been in the refrigerator for an hour or more it might be too cold. If you know you will be opening the white wine at a specific time, take the bottle of wine out of the refrigerator at least 30-40 minutes before serving.
Red wine should be served at what is recommended as ‘room temperature’ or 55-68 degrees. The higher temperature is for rich Cabernets and other complex red wines.
It can be a little challenging to figure out the room temperature since everyone’s room temperature is different. When the rules for chilling wine were published long ago “room temperature” referred to the cellar temperature of wine aficionados, and it was also long before we had central heat and air conditioning.
In order to chill your red wine to a temperature that will enhance the flavor of the wine you should put the bottle of red wine in the refrigerator about 1 hour before serving. That is if you keep the bottle in a wine rack and not in a wine cooler.
Some experts suggest the red wine be put in the fridge 30 minutes before serving, however that may not be long enough to chill the wine. When the red wine sits in the glass it warms up quickly from the warmth of your hand when holding the glass.
I hope this information is helpful and give you the incentive to try drinking your favorite wine at the ‘recommended’ temperature to see if you can taste the fruit flavors and smell the aromas of the wine as the winemaker intended.
Remember, drink what you like and enjoy, “it’s really just a matter of taste”.