Here is the fourth in our weekly series of Another Wine Bytes; information about wine you can use to impress your friends (but not in an obnoxious way, of course!)
AWByte #4 – How Important is Temperature?
Often when invited to a party, we’ll take a bottle of wine. In fact it’s almost expected, since we write and talk about wine a great deal. We usually take reds, so if our host wishes to save the bottle for later to enjoy herself, she can do so. At one such party, our hostess had a great many number of wines from which to choose, including some fabulous bold zinfandels that we had suggested. Unfortunately, somehow the Zin had been put in an ice chest where it sat until it was quite chilly–and by the time it was opened its fabulous flavors disappeared, and its high alcohol content took over.
Now some people like their reds quite cold. One of the guests, when offered a red, indicated that he’d brought one that was chilled just like he liked it, and offered it to the rest of it. I was a bit surprised to find the red chilled to about Budweiser temperature. Now there’s a reason to drink your Bud that cold. But I would prefer my merlot served a bit warmer than a mass-produced beer. Again, the wine flavors were lost.
While, the optimum temperature for storage is 52°F (11°C), wine can be stored at anywhere from 40°F to 65°C (4.5° to 18°C ), as long as there is little short-term fluctuation. Constant temperature is important as erratic temperatures can negatively impact the wine, and should be avoided. There are a number of wine chillers on the market where you can set the temperature to that best suited for the wine you are serving. We like the The Cuisinart Private Reserve Countertop Wine Cellars.
The most important thing to remember in serving wine is to avoid extremities. Over chilling kills the flavor and aroma; too much warmth makes the wine taste bland. The following guidelines will help ensure that you’ll enjoy your wine to its fullest!
- Champagne and Sparkling Wines: 40°F to 45°C (4.5° to 7°C )
- Whites: 45°F to 50°C (7° to 10°C )
- Rosés and Light Reds: 50°F to 55°C (10° to 12.5°C )
- Medium-Bodied Reds (Pinot Noir or Chianti): 55°F to 60°C (12.5° to 15.5°C )
- Full-Bodied Reds (Cabernet Sauvignon): 60°F to 65°C (15.5° to 18°C )
The next time you host or are invited to a party, keep these temperatures in mind. Because a Zin by any other name is not a Bud.
And that’s this week’s “Another Wine Byte!”
~Amy Corron Power,