Serving Wine at the Perfect Temperature
Thu, 29 October 2015
Serving wine at the ‘right’ temperature can sometimes seem like one of those snobby wine issues which, at the end of the day, doesn’t matter an awful lot. Surely the act of simply chilling whites and serving reds at room temperature will get you within the ballpark of acceptable? This basic rule is certainly a sound starting point for mastering wine temperature. There are however, a few other easy steps you can take to increase the enjoyment of your wine. For this reason, we’ve put together our three best tips for refining your wine temperature strategy – understand, prepare and explain.
Understand the bottle in your hand
So what wine are you drinking? That’s the first thing you should consider before serving your favourite drop at just the right temperature. Whether white, red, rosé, sparkling or somewhere in between, take some time to brush up on the key characteristics of this drop. Why? Well for one thing, you’re more likely to get on board with wine temperature ‘rules’ if you have a stronger understanding of the unique characteristics that are at stake. You want to make the most of your wine and to ensure that you and your guests enjoy the nuances inside each bottle. Secondly, we’ve talked previously on the blog about the etiquette of being a thoughtful host. And there’s nothing lovelier than being handed a glass of premium wine by your host, with all of the best aromatic, textural and flavour profiles maintained via optimal serving temperature.
So take a look at your label and any online tasting notes you can gather to get to know the facts and features of the bottle in hand. Are berry aromatics promised? Flavours of citrus or stone fruit? Are you awaiting supple, elegant tannins? Keep this information in mind as you prepare to establish just the right serving temperature for each unique wine. Taylors Wines Optimum Drinking Temperature guide – in most cases this will be lower for sparkling and whites (approximately 6-12°C) and slightly higher for the medium-to-heavy reds (approximately 14-18°C). Once you get the hang of knowing the correct serving temperatures, you will be pleasantly surprised to discover the luscious accents that exist in different wines when they are actually served in their ideal range.
Fridge temperature will simply be too cold – freezing out subtler aromatics and leaving a two-dimensional version of promised characteristics. And ‘room’ temperature, as we will shortly reveal, has mistakenly come to be associated with the room you’re in right now. For us wine loving Aussies, the results can be disappointing to say the least! A soupy warm red characterised only by an overwhelming alcohol taste profile is a sorry situation indeed. But by taking the time to put some simple preparatory measures in place, you can be sure to serve your particular red, white or sparkling at the ideal temperature.
On Being Prepared
So how can you prepare various wines for the ideal serving temperature? Some people will have one or two distinct kinds of good ‘wine luck’: One will be the possession of an intricate (and pricey!) wine refrigeration system that is scientifically designed to keep wines at the perfect temperature for serving, while others will have the good fortune of living in a part of the globe that makes the storage and serving of wine an absolute breeze – think stone cellars in frosty climes.
In fact, it’s well known that the ’room’ temperature idea came from the poorly heated stone dining chambres that the medieval French citizens enjoyed their premium wines. But fear not. For us mere mortals living in the modern era, there are simple and practical methods to help us serve each varietal or blend at the perfect temperature all without expensive or even fancy equipment.
First of all – understand your geography and season. A Chardonnay served in summer in sub-tropical Queensland will be in all sorts of trouble if we pull it straight from our wine ‘cellar’ (or shelf in the pantry as the case might be!) and serve. Flavours will mutate, structure crumbles and nuanced aromatics won’t stand a chance of reaching refinement. Yet throw this same Chardonnay into an icy summer fridge (2-4°C) and you similarly create a disservice as the characters are chilled and flattened into oblivion.
So what to do? You could invest in a wine thermometer or discover an even simpler solution…
At the end of the day we believe that good wine should be all about enjoyment. So –we’re delighted to help, with the inclusion of a temperature gauge now featured on all of our Estate and Promised Land wines.
The new Optimum Drinking Temperature label makes enjoying wine at the right temperature simple – all you have to do is keep an eye on the label’s temperature panel prior to serving, and you can be sure that both you and your guests will enjoy the full freshness and zingy citrus notes of our summery 2015 Taylors Estate Sauvignon Blanc for example.
Assist and explain
You might be one of the first in your circle to tackle the worthy challenge of refining your wine serving temperatures. To avoid seeming just a little precious however, make your new methods a conversation starter that everyone can get involved in. Talk through the possibilities of aromatics and flavour development for a well-served red for example, plus indicate the elements that you’re hoping to detect and delight your guests with. Most people will have heard how ‘room temperature’ can be a tricky concept. Have a chat and swap stories on the challenges involved in preparing wine for the unique Australian climate.
It’s a great opportunity to notice differences and nuances from earlier tastings, plus stir up interest in the fascinating question of serving temperature. And you can see now that there’s nothing snobby about striving for excellent serving methods… It’s all about enhancing and maximising the enjoyment of your wine selections.