Temperature and Wines

It is extremely important to serve a wine at the correct temperature. It is not enough to open a bottle, pour wine in a glass and swallow it in one gulp. Wine is probably the only drink to talk about before tasting and after drinking or at least after the first sip. There is a whole ritual that anyone interested in wine can observe even though he is not an expert.. As we talk about the best temperature we are not meaning herein the so-called picnic wine to quench one’s thirst, the one you can drink at the top a dune overlooking the sea when the sun sets before crunching greedily on a sandwich.

We are talking about the choice of a correct temperature and therefore the atmosphere in which we find ourselves namely the dining-room. The dishes are known. The hostess has made her choice and will be cooking the dishes. Eventually it might be an important family gathering and a restaurant owner may have been called in to deliver the meals, quite a luncheon then.

However and whatever the way meals will be coming from out of your own cooker or from an external specialist, you have decided to serve your own wines because you have some good bottles lying in your cellar. Even though you are not a specialist you have indeed some knowledge over the fact that there must be a good match between the meals and your wines. Your reputation is at stake in a way !

 Ideally, you will proceed as follows:

 – A few days before this “luncheon”, you will take care of your selection. It is assumed that you already have the wines in your cellar or that you will be purchasing them from a fine wine-shop in your district..

– The day before the meal, bottles must be brought from the cellar into the dining-room and be put up on a furniture. 48 hours would be preferable so that the wine can adapt itself to the room temperature at least for the first 24 hours. Of course we are talking about red wines that need not be refreshed !

 – The day the ceremony open the bottles and put the corks back onto the bottle neck. This is meant to aerate the liquid and have the bouquet expand. Let us not forget that he wine has been kept locked up for a very long period or several years as may be the case. This operation is meant to have the bouquet develop and the temperature of liquid matching slowly that of the room. However there is a warning: our aim is not to overheat the wine just because the room temperature is 23°C since the hostess is cold, has got a cold or a headache and needs the heaters to be turned on. We are talking about a normal temperature, namely 19 or 20 degrees. There is no question of overheating a red wine

 – Let us summarize now the conditions against each existing categories (red, white, rosy, sweet wines, champagnes):

– red wines like Bordeaux: between 16 and 19 ° C. At this temperature, the claret will be releasing a pleasant bouquet.

– light red wines like Beaujolais: between 11 and 13° C. It is practically the cellar temperature. Therefore, you will not bring the wines out of cellar 48 hours in advance as said before but will take them in the dining-room a few minutes before service. In doing so, we will avoid trying to refresh them a bit in cold water.

– white sweet wines like Sauternes: between 5 and 8.

– dry white wines: serve between 6 and 12 ° C.

– rose wines: same as dry white wines as white and possibly at 12 °C if the alcohol level is high in the bottle (ie: 13% by volume indicated on the body-label).

It is important to treat the wine correctly from beginning to end and thus avoid the refrigerator if you want to chill a wine (maximum 2 hours), avoid ice cubes, overheated rooms, avoid placing a red wine near a heat source to accelerate its rise in temperature. Do not put a white or rose wine in the freezer to accelerate cooling! As far as white wines are concerned, whether dry white or sweet white, rose or champagne, use an ice bucket filled with cold water.

– champagne is also to be served between 6 and 8 degrees.

If you follow these instructions you will be praised for your knowledge on wines and your wife will certainly be honored with compliments on the service of meals along with wines. Your reputation will be growing as a wine specialist and in the long run people will know that upon crossing your doorstep that “inn” is indded a good place for food and wines.

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