Temp for wines?

Given my wine knowledge is pretty minimal (i’ve only been of age for a few years) I was operating under the guidelines that you kept a bottle of red wine on the counter and a bottle of white wine in the fridge (on their sides, of course). Anyway on a plane I met a woman who said she spent some time in Napa and there the vinters told her that the fridge was not the place to store a bottle of white. “You chill it, you kill it” was the aphorism she said they used.

So it got me to wondering, what is the best thing to do for not only whites but reds as well. I’m going to assume that these two categories are probably not the best for proper care of wines anyway so if someone could break that down for me that would be cool as well.

White wine should be cool, but not refrigerator cool. An optimum serving temperature is 45 to 50 degrees. The best thing to do is store it someplace like your basement, or in a dark cool cabinet. When you’re ready to serve it, place it in a bucket of water and ice for about 20 minutes, then keep it in cool water after it’s opened. Or get one of those great clay wine coolers; they work perfectly. She was exagerating about the killing part; at most, you’re “stunning” the wine (the extra cooling stunts the boquet and reduces the flavor).

As for reds, yes, you should serve it at room temp. Remember, though, room temperature is about 75 degrees; if you’re serving it on the deck and it’s 100 in the shade, think about chilling the bottle as described above. Nobody likes to drink hot wine (unless it’s mulled).

By the way, all wines should be stored on their side. This allows the wine to keep the cork moist, and prevent it from drying out.

I am of the theory that if you paid for the wine you are free to do as you please with it so just drink it at whatever temperature you like it.

Having said that, I like red wines at room temperature and white wines somewhat cooler. If it is very hot I might like it colder but it is true that anything very cold will lose it’s flavor. I never eat fruit right out of the fridge.

If a wine is too cold, it’s less flavorful (which is why the old Lake Niagara slogan, “the colder it gets, the better it tastes” was such a hoot).

You do want to chill white wines a bit. Also “room temperature” for reds was the rule in the days before central heating; the best temperature is around 65 degrees F.

Wine expert Hugh Johnson says there is variation among wines, and that 60 degrees F is good for Burgundy but bad for Bordeaux. Roughly, the lighter the wine, the cooler it should be served. Sweet wines should be well chilled.

>> Also “room temperature” for reds was the rule in the days before central heating

I am still in those days. What I mean is that I do not understand people who keep their homes at 80F and spend a fortune to do it. My neigbor is an old lady who lives on welfare and is always asking to borrow money from me yet she keeps the house so hot I cannot stay there for more than a short while.

I have a huge house with central heating. I keep most of it at about 60F in the worst of winter and warm up my room to be comfortable. Wearing a sweater is much cheaper than paying big gas bills.

If I have guests I might warm it a bit more but not much because a group of people warm the room anyway. Normally when I go to other people’s homes in the winter I feel too hot and in the summer too cold. Some people just overdo it.

Thanks all for the tips

The correct temprature for wine is what ever the hell you like it to be.

I have seen charts with specific tempratures for each grape variety along with temprature gauges to make sure you are conforming to the Wine Nazis edicts.

I seldom chill any wine in the fridge, I like to taste it. However I do sometimes make an exeption on hot days or for very light wines like reslings.

However my sister lives in Perth Australia where 40 degree celcius in the summer makes her chill even red wines.

Don’t listen to anyone, just serve it how you want it.

The first rule of drinking wine is: if it’s your wine, it’s nobody else’s business how you drink it.

It’s probably not the best place to store the wine, but it’s a good place to put it for a little while before you drink it.

You’ll mask the flavour of most white wines if you refrigerate them for too long. As a general rule, 90 minutes in the refrigerator will bring most whites down to a reasonable temperature (10-12 deg. Celcius).

“Room temperature”, in relation to red wine, generally means 14-18 deg. Celcius. Given that many rooms are now heated to 23 deg. C +, even a heavy claret can sometimes benefit from a few minutes (15-20) in the refrigerator.

Also, any wine will warm up as you handle it, so it’s better to serve it a little bit colder than you would like it in the first place.

This is much less of an issue now than it once was. Cork technology has improved tremendously over the past few years, and some of the New World vintners are now using plastic / rubber corks which don’t dry out at all. In any event, unless you’e keeping the wine for several years, it shouldn’t be a problem.

Okay, I detect a bit of defensiveness in all those “do whatever the hell you want” answers. Yes, you can serve white wine over ice, or boil red wine, or both; it’s a free country. And wine snobs that insist on an exact number for serving (like the James Bond crack about saki in “You Only Live Twice”) need a life.

But the truth is that these practices came about because they are based on the truth. White wine served at a cool (not cold, not room) temperature will tastes better. The leeway is about 10 degrees, so there’s no need to get out the thermometer.

Wines are also still developing in the bottle; white wines only slightly, but red wines very much so. Putting them in the fridge brings the post-bottling aging to a screeching halt.

If you want some good hints on wine and wine enjoyment, read the wine column that appears often in the Wall Street Journal “Weekend Section”. The two winelovers who write it are definitely on the “develop your own taste” side.

I’m more or less of the “you bought it, do what you like with it” philosophy. My personal preference is for reds to be somewhat cooler than standard room temperature these days; probably 60-odd degrees (F) but I’ve never measured. But I keep my house at around 70-F throughout the year, and room-temp red is just shade too warm for me. And still speaking personally, I like whites (and roses) just chilled but not cold; otherwise you’re masking the taste of the wine. Same thing happens with beer.

On the other hand, if you have paid an enormous amount of money for a special bottle of wine, then it might be wise to learn what the optimum recommended storage and serving conditions are. If you paid that much for it, you might as well serve it under conditions that will give you the fullest flavor and experience.

I treat every bottle of Riunite and Manischewitz with the utmost care. wink