The weather is warming up (or will soon!) and it's time to talk about wine temperatures. Getting wine temperature right is a really easy thing to do that does not require any special equipment beyond a fridge and countertop. Making sure your wine is served at the right temperature will enhance any bottle of wine.
I have found that most times white wines are served too cold and red wines are served too warm. And I can tell you that it really makes a difference to the taste of the wine. Here are some quick and easy tips you can try to get your white and red wines to the right temperature.
White wines: If you are getting ready for a party you are probably chilling down your white wines in the fridge. So, here is what you do - about 1/2 hour before serving the wine take it out and set it on the countertop. Let it get a bit sweaty and it should be good to go. I would especially do this for Chardonnay or Viognier as these are heavier wines that benefit from a bit of heat (relatively speaking – don’t hold them over the stove or anything) so that that they can open up a bit. For crisper wines such as Sauvignon Blanc I think you should drink them fairly cold so I’d be inclined to leave those in the fridge or put them on ice.
Red wines: I am willing to bet your reds are stored in a closet or on the countertop so you are probably starting off with a bottle that is warm. About 1/2 hour before serving put the wine in the fridge and let it get a bit chilled. I know, I know, you are not supposed to chill reds. I am not talking about ice cold, just chilled a bit. You can also put the wine into an ice bucket filled with ice and water (this works well in restaurants). This will bring the wine down closer to cellar temperature (which is 55 degrees). The exact temperature reading does not matter, what are you shooting for is getting the wine down to a temperature that is lower than the ambient room temperature, especially if it’s a hot day.
If you find that you are often chilling down wines and want an even easier way to do it, consider getting a wine chiller sleeve. They are fairly inexpensive and come in two sizes – one that fits a regular bottle and a slightly larger one that is made for a Champagne bottle but also works really well for fatter wine bottles such as those used for pinot noir. I always have several in my freezer.