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The Importance of temperature

I can`t over-emphasise the importance of serving your wines at the right temperature. I don`t mean the exact temperature. You really don`t need an instrument to tell you what feels right. However, in case you are the sort of wine enthusiast who likes gadgets (I am not) there are plenty around, ranging from colour-coded liquid crystal thermometer strips, to handheld infrared guns which provide digital readings. Consensus offers the following guidelines in degrees centigrade: full-bodied reds 17-18, medium-bodied reds 14-16, light reds 10-12, full-bodied whites 10-12, medium-bodied whites 9-11, light whites 6-8, sparkling whites 5-10, full-bodied sweet 8-12, light sweet 6-10. These are useful numbers to know, but not necessary. What`s key is to understand   wine`s weight, or body, is a factor in determining wine`s ideal temperature. Really only the very light white wines, and especially sparkling light wines, are best served properly chilled from the fridge. What I call “cellar-temperature” is best for almost everything else, when the bottle is cool to touch. A tad cooler for full-bodied whites, maybe. Avoid “warm to touch” bottles and forget all about the red wine serving misnomer “room-temperature”; I think the term must have been invented in Victorian times, before central heating. Wines served lightly chilled, say, one hour out of the fridge, will be about right, just on the cool side of “cellar”.  In my mind, too many reds are drunk too warm, and too many whites drunk too cold. And all too many restaurants take insufficient care to get it right. If you are ever served a warm, sweaty, alcoholic red, for goodness sake ask the waiter to chill down the bottle for you. In a matter of minutes, the smell of alcohol will have abated and the fruit quality improved noticeably. If you are having a summer wedding and it turns out to be a scorcher, have your caterer on red alert!  At home, keep your wines, red and white, in the coolest possible place. And don`t waste your money on expensive wines, only to ignore my temperature advice. Cheers everyone!

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