Can temperature affect red wine?
by Ken Stano
YES!! Ever ask for a recommendation on a bottle of red wine at the store, only to open it later at home and be disappointed? It could simply come down to temperature.
A red wine can lose a lot of aroma and character if served too cold or too warm. You’ve spent good money on that bottle; it may be worth spending a few moments thinking about the temperature at which it is served.
A common misconception with red wine is that it is ideal to serve it at room temperature; but what exactly is ‘room temperature’?
Ever try to warm a bottle of red that was left outside in the car on a winter day?
The ideal serving temperature for many red wines can range between 55º and 65º. Although these were common indoor temperatures in centuries gone by, they are definitely cooler than what you often find in today’s insulated, centrally heated houses.
Reds Like Cool
Many reds, unless stored somewhere cool, will often benefit from half an hour in the refrigerator or even 15 minutes in the freezer. This is particularly the case for Beaujolais and young Burgundy, as well as Pinot Noir. Cabernets, Rhônes and other reds from warmer climates are generally fine at 60º - 65º.
After opening and pouring the first glasses, just leave the wine out on the table to slowly warm-up.
Rescue a Red?
Ever try to warm a bottle of red that was left outside in the car on a winter day? Many may be tempted to place the wine near a radiator or some other source of heat. Don’t! This can be a recipe for disaster, especially if you forget about it. The end result could be a stewed, soupy, over-heated wine.
Even the supposedly knowledgeable are guilty of wine neglect when it comes to storage and serving temperature. Staff at respected restaurants can attempt to save time by storing popular wines somewhere very close to, if not within, the warm kitchen.
Not to worry! A bit of chilling, even just five minutes, can help a red wine taste and smell much better.
A Simple Rule
If uncertain about serving temperature, always err on the side of caution and serve the wine a little too cold. A wine served in this way will soon warm up in the glass, probably releasing a sequence of pleasing aromas as it does. Cupping the hand around the glass will encourage the wine to warm, and you’ll enjoy it that much more!
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