Benjamin Franklin said it best:
“Wine makes daily living easier, less hurried, with fewer tensions and more tolerance.”
We agree with wise Ben, but we also know that many wine lovers tend to stress out wondering if they’re serving their wine at the correct temperature. Here are a few pointers for you, so you can chill out when it comes to the room temp myth, and know when to chill or how much to chill.
The basics: If you’re keeping your wine bottles in your home, and you’re dwelling is not an underground cave -- which we have a feeling is NOT the case -- chances are your bottles will need to be cooled before you serve them. If you serve your reds too warm, the alcohol will overpower the aromas and overwhelm the gentle nuances of the wine’s flavor.
Paul (Bonacquisti) says “Many people and some restaurants serve their reds straight from the counter, which is way too warm. That's that old “room temp” myth – 75 degrees feels good when it's 90+ outside, but will bring out the alcohol and tannins, and make the wine taste “hot.” NO BUENO.
See? Paul knows.
He also knows that overchilling many wines can block flavors that would be greatly appreciated by your taste buds, so to really take your wine’s flavor and aroma to the max, here’s a little cheat sheet from Wine Enthusiast for perfect chilling, pouring – and enjoyment.
Sparkling wines benefit from some temperature because of autolysis, which is when the yeast breaks down into the wine giving you the biscuity, nutty, brioche flavor. If it’s too cold you don’t get that,” says Master Sommelier Fred Dexheimer. Dexheimer says, “There’s a threshold where the temperature is just perfect. I like to take it out, put the wine on the table and let it warm up to 45 to 50 degrees.”
Recommendations (select one please):
Fridge: 2.5 hours / Freezer: 20–25 minutes / Ice Bucket with Water: 10 minutes
Wine Enthusiast states that high-acid wines like Muscadet and Chablis should be chilled to around 45˚F, while rich whites, like Rhônes and Burgundies can go closer to 50˚F. If the wine is too cold, you run the risk of suppressing the aromas and flavors. If it’s too warm, he says you’re not going to get the acidity, the minerality and the tension of terroir. We’d recommend serving our Bella Risa Pinot Grigio around the 45˚ range to fully enjoy its luscious citrus, apricot and melon flavors.
White Recommendations (select one please):
Fridge: 2.5 hours (high acid), 2 hours (rich) / Freezer: 25 minutes, 20 minutes / Ice Bucket with Water: 10 minutes, 6 minutes
As we mentioned earlier, when red wines are served too warm, you’ll get that alcohol, some flat fruit and sometimes oak overload. Reds will perform at their best somewhere between 60 and 68 degrees to enjoy the freshness and vibrancy. A good choice to cool in this range would be our [D] RED, a blend of 60 % Colorado Merlot and 40% Zinfandel. This wine has a beautiful bing cherry aroma with a long finish of dark chocolate. Also enjoy our Vinny No Neck, a delicious 100% Sangiovese Italian-style red in honor of our son Vincent. (He’s cool with it).
Red Recommendations (select one please):
Fridge: 40 minutes / Freezer: 6 minutes / Ice Bucket with Water: 3 minutes
DESSERT WINE, ANYONE?
You’ll want your dessert wine’s acidity to shine through the sugar, so cooler is the way to go. “Serving fortified bottles like Port too warm will make the wine taste raisiny and high in alcohol” according to Dexheimer. In a perfect world, he recommends serving Ports at 62 or 63 degrees.
Dessert Wine Recommendations (select one please):
Fridge: 2.75 hours (dessert), 45 minutes (fortified) / Freezer: 30 minutes, 7 minutes / Ice Bucket with Water: 11 minutes, 4 minutes
Simply put: wine is to be enjoyed – that’s the bottom line.
These tips are to help you enjoy the best flavors your bottle has to offer, but it’s about what suits your palate. Is your thing to throw an ice cube in your glass? Go for it, and just smile if anyone throws you a look – it’s YOUR wine after all. Wine is to be enjoyed – and we think any winemaker would agree with that.