Hot Or Cold? Wine, That Is!

I store our wine, both red and white, at 56°F. But what temperature is appropriate for drinking? I think that for reds, cellar temperature is just about perfect. All too often I have been served red wines at temperatures that I normally reserve for hot chocolate. The wines, and the waiter’s tip, have suffered. Wine Library TV has an excellent segment about the effects of heat on red wine. It is interesting, amusing, and well worth watching. For me, warm wine all tastes pretty much the same. It loses depth and complexity, and tastes flat.

White wine temperature is a more complicated issue. My wife likes her wine straight out of the refrigerator. And for most of the whites we drink that seems to work pretty well. As the wine warms slightly, whatever complex flavors are present begin to emerge. Of course, some of the wines aren’t complicated at all, just straightforward fruit and oak bombs. But that is fine too. They survive the cold very well. It is the more complex wines that may suffer from low temperatures. Those complexities that we pay so much for? They just don’t exist at 38
°F. That Kongsgaard 2005 Chardonnay I just bought with the kid’s college fund? She better not drink it straight from the refrigerator!

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