One of the most pleasurable parts of winter is cosying up at home with your favourite glass of wine in hand. But as the room temperatures heat up how do we make sure our wine still tastes its optimum, should we chill it down?
Chilling wine before enjoying is an age old conundrum.
The temperature of the wine will make a difference to your wine experience, summer or winter. So if you are rugged up this winter you might consider what temperature you would like to enjoy your wines.
The best place to start is to understand what makes up the wine experience. This comes down to three terms you might have heard bandied around a lot – aroma, flavour and taste.
Aroma is the smell, the fragrance or the nose created by aromatic compounds. Taste is the mouth feel; sweet, sour, bitter, salt and umami (savoury). Flavour is what the brain interprets as the combined smell and taste. It is the outcome of the aroma and the taste. If the brain smells something citrus and tastes something acidic/sour it might associate the flavour to lemon.
So how does temperature influence this?
The answer is pretty straight forward, if wines are too cold their aroma is supressed and if too warm our palate tends to find this unpleasant. This impacts our taste sensation and the subsequent flavour of the wine. How cold and how warm is too much is really down to personal taste, like so many things to do with wine.
This being said there are some general rules about wine temperature.
White & Sparkling wines
White wines are at their best generally between 4 – 10 Degrees Celsius. Lighter bodied whites tend to present better at the lower end of the scale and the fuller bodied whites at the top end. Have a look in your refrigerator and see what the temperature is, ours is at 4 degrees celcius, so we like to take a wine like the Marsanne or Chardonnay (insert link) out of the fridge about 10 minutes before enjoying. Similarly, if we are serving a Sparkling, we will pop it in the freezer for 15 minutes to bring the temperature down a bit (just don’t forget to get it out!).
Red wine is a touch different, again depending on your personal style. We like to drink our reds in a smaller range between 15 to 18 Degrees Celsius. When people talk about room temperature they are generally talking 20 °C, a comfortable ambient temperature. So again in this case there is no harm, depending on your house temperature and how you like it, putting your reds in the fridge for a few minutes can bring out some great flavours. Or if you are like us, you might be drinking your wines over a few nights. Make sure you take that wine out of the fridge for 10 minutes before you enjoy it in the glass.
At the end of the day be guided by your own palette.
If you like it 9 times out of 10 your friends will like it too.