Here is an area where attention to detail pays off!
Somewhere along the line, you have probably heard
the old adage: Serve red wines at room temperature, chill whites before serving, and keep
sparkling wines in an ice bucket until the bottle is finished.
In my opinion the above maxim is too general to be
Let me try to explain it this way:
Temperature affects the flavor of wine. The colder
the temperature the less ability a person has to taste the flavors in the wine. Cold numbs
the senses. On the other hand too high a temperature emphasizes the alcohol overpowering
the varietal characteristics and nuances of the particular wine causing it to taste
flabby. Ever taste a warm soda? Thats the sensation flabby!
Red wines should be served between 60 and 65 degrees
in order to maximize flavor and sensual pleasure.
I am from California and
now live in Texas. In both locations temperatures can easily
reach triple digits in the summer. When I get ready to start
the evening meal, I pick the wine I plan to serve and put it
in the refrigerator while I am cooking the meal. When I am ready
to serve, I pour the wine into a red wine stem ware and swirl
and taste. If the wine is too cold I cup the bowl of the glass
in my hand which helps to warm the glass. As the wine warms,
I move my hand down and pick up the glass by the stem which
does not transmit body heat to the bowl. This technique allows
the wine to remain closer to the ideal temperature throughout
Heres a trick to use if the wine is not up to
par, such as a box wine or a Two Buck Chuck red.
Keep the wine chilled throughout the meal. Remember,
cold numbs the sense of taste and smell, so if the wine has some peculiar aromas bring out
the ice bucket or keep it in the reefer during the meal. Just dont put ice cubes in
the wine, thats not only gauche, but dilutes any flavors that are left.
Temperature for white table wine is probably more
critical then for reds.
The general consensus is that white wine should be
consumed at about 55 degrees
This goes for Roses as well.
Tip: White wine glasses are usually smaller than red
wine glasses. The smaller size helps the wine to remain colder (More on that later)
Also, if it is an expensive white wine, its ok to
serve around 60 degrees.
At 60 degrees, one can taste and smell the complex aromas better. Dont forget, at
the higher temperature it also emphasis any flaws or off aromas!
The whole point of drinking sparkling wines is to
see and taste the bubbles.
Take the extra effort and poor sparkling wines into a champagne flute.
Plastic, glass, or crystal is not as important, its the shape of the glass that
emphasizes the bubbles! The general consensus for serving sparkling wines is between 45 to
Something to consider:
There are two recognized methods of making sparkling
wine worthy of note.
Methode Champenois is simply the process where the
bubbles are fermented in the bottle. It is time consuming, labor intensive, and worth it!
Having said that, just because a sparkling wine claims Methode Champenois does
not necessarily reflect noteworthy excellence. If you are paying $50 to over $300 a bottle
for bubbly, you are probably getting Methode Champenois but dont
overlook good bargains in sparkling wine produced by the Charmat method.
Charmat or Bulk sparkling method where the wine is
fermented as well as the secondary fermentation to create the bubbles is produced in large
stainless steel tanks and than bottled. Proseco, the Italian bubbly, and Cava, the Spanish
bubbly more often than not use the Charmat method. Dont overlook these bargains!