Wine is reportedly the UK’s favourite drink, and for good reason. Not only is it great on its own and even better with food, but it’s available in countless varieties.
To get the best from your wine, however, you’ll not only want to preserve it at the right temperature, but serve it at the right temperature, too.
If you’ve ever had a highly-rated bottle of wine, but found it somehow lacking, then it might be the serving temperature that’s to blame. Along with the glass it’s served in, the temperature of the wine can have an enormous effect on the aromas and flavours a drink can produce. Let’s take a look at how to achieve the optimum serving temperature.
Striking a Balance
When a wine is too warm, it becomes unbalanced, and the alcohol will dominate the other flavours. On the other hand, if your wine is too cold, it might taste too bland – as your taste buds will contract the moment it touches your tongue.
This means that we’ve got to find a ‘Goldilocks’ zone in between these two extremes. But if Goldilocks were stealing wine from the three bears instead of porridge, she’d have a far more difficult time. Wine comes in a vast spectrum of varieties, each of which demands a different serving temperature.
Even if you don’t know anything about wine, you’ll probably know that whites are best served chilled, while reds are best served at room temperature. To be precise:
- It’s best to serve dry light wine, roses and sweet white wines and at between 5°C and 10°C.
- For full-bodied whites and light, fruity reds, between 10°C and 15°C is preferable.
- Full-bodied reds should be served between 15°C and 18°C.
Generally speaking, the heavier the wine, the more it’ll benefit from being slightly warmer. A vintage port, for example, might be left at 19°C, while a pinot noir might be better at 16°C. Even the heaviest red wine, therefore, shouldn’t really be served at room temperature, which nowadays is around 20°C.
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How Can I Tell?
If you’re particularly worried about temperature, then you might invest in a small wine cooler. Unlike fridges (which are too cold for most wines) or the room itself (which is generally too warm) wine coolers can be set to the exact required temperature.
A digital thermometer which can read the temperature of a wine through the bottle might also prove useful. Many wine-drinkers, however, tend to dispense with such tools in favour of simply touching the bottle and guessing. This is a skill that needs to be worked at over time, but through repeated trial and error, you’ll learn to approximate how warm or cool the contents of a given bottle are.
It’s worth bearing in mind that a colder wine will get a little warmer as it sits in the glass, while a warmer one will just get a little bit warmer. Better, therefore, to err on the side of cold when you’re serving!
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