Warmer weather is approaching, and that means that more people will be turning to chilled white wines, rosés, and lighter-bodied reds for their summer wine consumption. The temperature of the wine either mutes or accentuates the characteristics of a wine.
An aromatic white wine will have muted aromatics and flavors, if chilled to refrigerator temperatures. On the other side, a full-bodied tannic red wine will become very astringent, as the tannins are enhanced if the wine is over-chilled.
While there are temperatures that are recommended for each style of wine, if you like your white wine super cold and your red wines at your home room temperature, then by all means drink it that way. Wine is about enjoyment, and each individual likes what he or she likes, the way he or she likes it.
Recommended temperatures for a light and fruity wine are between 45 and 50 degrees. For bubbly wines, recommended temperatures range from 40 to 50 degrees. Prosecco being fruity and bright would do best on the lower end of that scale, where more complex Champagne would do better on the high end. Fuller-bodied white, liked oaked Chardonnay or Viognier, light-bodied reds, and dessert wines do best when at 50 to 60 degrees. Full-bodied reds are usually served between 55 and 65 degrees.
Kitchen refrigerators usually run between 37 and 40 degrees. If we want our light white or rosé wine between 45 and 50 degrees, put the wine in about 2 to 3 hours before serving time. If the wine has been in the fridge longer than that, the easiest way to attain the recommended serving temperature is to remove the wine from the refrigerator about 20 minutes before serving. For fuller-bodied red wines that we want to serve at 55 to 60 degrees, place the bottle in the fridge about 20 minutes before serving.
If you forget to refrigerate your wine or yours guests were super thirsty and you want to open another bottle of wine and none is chilled, fear not, as there are ways to chill the wine relatively quickly. Fill an ice bucket two-thirds full of ice and tap water and then a generous handful salt and your wine bottle. The salt brings the freezing point of water down and the ice draws in heat and in about 15 minutes you have a properly chilled bottle of wine. Also, if you spin the bottle within the bucket, it speeds the process up a bit.
Can you put wine in the freezer to chill it quicker than the fridge? You can but if you do it is best to set a timer so that you do not forget it. Remember that 85% of wine is composed of water and when water freezes it expands and that means that if left too long in the freezer, the wine freezes, the cork can be pushed out and you could have a mess on your hands.
Cheers to chilling with wine this summer!