Wine is a labour of love for most vintners but to sommeliers, they’re technically perishable goods that need to be handled and served with care. It does them justice to serve the wine that best showcases its distinct features. To bring out the wine’s best asset is to get the temperature right.
Red and White Wine
If it is simple enough to serve red wine at room temperature and white wines from the cooler, wine temperature chart would not be needed, right? Not really. That rule applies to wine types in general. Cold temperatures will play down the tartness or sweetness while warm temperatures highlight the wine’s aroma and body. Get it too warm and bitterness and alcohol content will come into play. Can you imagine drinking red wine in Australia’s 24’C room temperature or Chardonnay at 5’C? How will you ever enjoy its conspicuous flavour and aroma?
To get the guesswork out of serving wine temperature, this chart is the most comprehensive. The first column describes the ideal serving temperature of the wine. The next column on its right describes the characteristics of the wine while the last column gives the class of wine.
The concept of appreciating wine based on its correct serving temperature is best explained by relating aroma to its flavour. Wine aromas are released as vapours when the wine warms up in the glass. The nose smells the notes created by these vapours. A quick sip and the tongue can identify sweet, sour, salty or sharp taste in wine. According to WineCoolerLab, the temperature of wine works both to your advantage. To get the most of pricey bottles, a slight chill will do the work but if it’s a cheap bottle of plonk, it will mute any bad flavours making it easier to imbibe.
Temperature of wine
To make full use of the serving temperature of wine, wine stewards serve the wine way below its ideal temperature. They serve the wine half submerged in a steel bucket filled with ample slurry of salted ice. The wine bottle is swirled in this slurry to lower the temperature. It is then poured in the glass where the person’s hand provides enough warmth to still bring it to its ideal serving temperature. For example, rich and intense flavours of Bordeaux can be lowered a degree or two below. It can be lowered to 16’C before being poured into the glass and still achieve the 18’C after some swirling and handling before it gets drunk.
When in doubt, serve wine a little cooler than usual as it is easier to warm than to chill it back to optimaltemperature. There are several ways to do it. If you haven’t got any steel bucket or ice to chill your wine, wrap the bottle in a wet paper towel and put it in the freezer. The moisture from the paper towel acts as conductor to hold the cold better. Just make sure that the paper towel covers the whole bottle for uniform temperature. If it sticks to the bottle, run it under cold water. Another cheap but effective method is to store grapes frozen in the freezer and put in enough amount to chill the wine. No grapes? Use an icepack and put in a tall pitcher. Pour the whole bottle of wine in the jug and serve. The idea is to lower the temperature without diluting the wine and damaging its flavour.