Chilling Red Wine Like the Pros
All over North America this summer, the weather has been hot and humid. One way to deal with the summer heat is to cool off by drinking a glass of nice chilled red wine. How cold should wine be to enjoy it? Does it make a difference if it is red or white wine? If you were to speak to five wine connoisseurs and ask at what temperature red wine should be served, you would likely get five different temperatures you should be chilling red wine at. To learn more, read on.
When it comes to red wines, the purists say that this beverage should be served at a temperature a little less than room temperature. Secondly, it is generally agreed that the majority of red wines may benefit from a little time in the fridge before consumption. Place the wine in the refrigerator several hours before you plan to drink it.
CAN YOU CHILL ALL RED WINES?
For the most part, just about all red wines can be slightly cooled between 45-60 degrees Fahrenheit to bring out the best flavor during the hot summer months. If red wine is served warm, it will taste less fruity and bland. But if the red wine is served too cold, it becomes disjointed, and the balance is lost. That does not mean, however, that chilled red wine is a given; there are a few exceptions.
WHICH WINES TASTE BETTER COLD?
In general, chilled red wine can enhance some flavors, while others can become dull. Overall, chilling red wine can bring out the fruity notes, while the tannins (the chemicals that produce bitterness) are shut down. This means that the best red wines to drink cold are the younger and lighter varietals, like Merlot, Syrah, Grenache, or Pinot Noir. The process of chilling red wine results in a refreshing taste that is incredibly easy to drink.
On the other hand, aged or full-bodied wines, like Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, or Gamay, are made more flavorful at much lower temperatures.
HOW SHOULD YOU CHILL WINE WITHOUT A THERMOMETER?
Since not everyone is fanatical about temperatures and may not have a thermometer, the best recommendation is to leave the red wine in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours before serving. The wine should be cool but not ice cold.
SHOULD YOU ADD ICE CUBES TO THE WINE TO CHILL IT?
While some people do add ice cubes to chill their wine, this is not recommended. The ice will melt, and the additional water will dilute the wine, thus reducing the flavor and aroma. If you just have to add ice cubes, you should only add a minimal amount and drink the wine before the ice melts into water.
If you are going to be sitting on the deck or your patio on a warm evening, use an ice bucket to keep the red wine chilled.
In summary, wine experts agree that there is no one universal method of chilling red wine. You may have to experiment a bit to find out what temperature you really like for your red wine. As well, you can drink the wine warm; it all depends on your taste buds, the weather, the type of wine, and personal preferences. For questions or advice, call Pacific Rim & Company at 1-503-863-5454, visit us online, or email us at: PacRimInfo@Banfi.com.