Monday, August 20, 2007

The great temperature debate

With the weather being as warm as it is, I have noticed an increase in the discussion of wine and temperature, both serving and storing temperature. There are many sources of information on this topic but the majority agree on reds: store between 55-65, serve at 58-68. Where you fall in that range is personal preference.

Wednesday night we had some red wine that was room temp. Now, the vast majority of restaurants serve red wine at room temp, but we brought in this wine and paid the corkage fee. It was room temp because of travel time-and the fact that outside it was 100+ degrees. Although it could’ve been a few degrees colder, it was fine and actually better than it would’ve been if it was served at 55.

A concern about room temp during the summer is that rooms are usually hotter. I mean, in the winter we keep our house at 72-ish but in the summer its closer to 78. 78 is pretty far away from ideal temp-its almost warm.

On to whites and rose’s. Typically rose’s are served colder than fuller bodied whites, like Chardonnay. However, last night we had some rose’s that were served too cold and thus needed to be warmed up using our hands. A recent entry of my wine calendar says that sparkling is best served colder than fridge temp-they need to be ice bucket cold.

Either way, it seems like I’m always messing with the temp of wines lately and I’m really caring about it more than usual. Our wine fridge doesn’t have any moving parts, some special way of refrigeration that doesn’t vibrate, thus only keeps the wine a max of 25-30 degrees cooler than the air around it. Which with a poor air circulation set up in the kitchen, the fridges are in the hottest corner. A downside, yes, as in the summer the wines are around 65. Which means we have to cool down the whites for about 15 minutes and over the weekend, we even put the red in the fridge for about 5 minutes.

The good news with all this messing with the temps is that I’ve figured out what MY ideal serving temp is. Reds-58-62. Whites and dry rose’s: 48-50 Fruitier wines: 45-48 and I guess 40 for sparkling, although I don’t know what “ice bucket cold” is. When we buy another more expensive wine fridge where we don’t have to decide on vibration vs ideal temp, I’ll set storage at about 2-3 degrees cooler than that. But that’s at least a few years away, so I’ll have to deal with cooling my whites for 15 minutes and maybe my reds for 5 during the summer months.

Either way, I’ll be glad when summer is gone – it seems like the variation in wine temperature tastes is smaller and less of a debate in the winter.

1 comment:

WinoFriend said...

Tempature is tricky. The same wine we loved at dinner with you served at probably too warm of a tempature tasted overly vegetal and tannic when we pulled it straight from the 56 degree cellar. What gives? Meanwhile, our beloved rose arrives a day behind schedule in record heat and recovers nicely.