Let’s admit it, temperature is a personal preference. There will always be that one person in the room who wants a side of ice for his or her Albariño or a chilled glass for Champagne, and that’s fine (sacrilegious, but OK). We’re not trying to kick anyone’s habit. We’re simply here to add to your “wine toolbelt,” enhancing the wines you love in their optimal sensory setting. Here are a few safe tricks to regulate temperature without a thermometer.
If you’re drinking a wine that comes from a fridge and your glass fogs up like a frosty mug upon first pour, then the wine is too cold. Half the fun of getting to know a wine is putting your nose in the glass and catching those first aromas, those first “hellos” creating suspense before they meet the palate. If the wine is too cold, then you’re missing out on that “first date” moment. Try decanting the wine into a room temperature glass vessel (like a pitcher, vase, or jug) which will take the liquid out of its cold home into a more ambient one. Or if time is not an issue, then keep the wine on the table and wait 15 minutes before pouring. How to keep that perfect mild chill? Fill an ice bucket three-quarters with ice and add just enough water to loosen the ice (but not watery) and keep the bottle “half in, half out.” When you’re ready to pour, gently tilt the bottle to evenly distribute the cool liquid at the bottom.
I call it the “baby bottle” test, but instead of lukewarm, you’re aiming for cool. Take a bottle of a light to medium red wine and touch it to your chin. The bottle should feel cool upon touch, like the skin of an apple from a well ventilated grocery store. If the bottle is warm, put it upright in the fridge for 30-40 minutes. If you’re in a rush, 15-20 minutes in the freezer will also bring the temperature down a few degrees.
Use the same approach as light to medium red wines, but cut the minutes in half. The wine upon touch should feel slightly cool to ambient, almost unnoticeable.
|Sparkling Wines||42 – 50|
|Champagne Method Wines||45 – 52|
|Dry Light Whites||44 – 50|
|Off-Dry Light Whites||42 – 50|
|Light-Colored Rosé||44 – 50|
|Darker-Colored Rosé||48 – 55|
|Full Whites||50 – 59|
|Light Reds||52 – 59|
|Medium Reds||55 – 62|
|Full Reds||59 – 64|
|Madeira, Port||50 – 60|
|Dry Sherry||55 – 60|
|Sweet Sherry||48 – 54|
|Vintage Port||55 – 62|