Spy Valley Secret #34 - To chill or not to chill?
Spy Valley’s chief wine maker Paul Bourgeois on best practice wine temperatures.
There’s nothing better on a cold winter’s evening than curling up next to a roaring fire, with a glass of warming red wine. But just why does a red wine by the fire taste so good?
Temperature makes a vast difference to the flavour of the wine we’re drinking. White wines are often served too cold, and reds too warm. As winemakers, we put a lot of thought into the ideal temperature to give the best experience of a particular wine.
Sparkling wine should be served chilled - Ideal serving temperature - 4-10 degrees
Why? Keeping sparkling at this temperature keeps the bubbles in the wine, if the temperature gets too warm the CO2 gets released causing the wine to go flat.
For most white wines, think Goldilocks. Not too cold, not too warm, just right.
Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay:10-15 degrees
Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Rose:6-13 degrees
Why? Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris and Chardonnay are fuller bodied wines with less acidity so the structure won’t change when the temperature is slightly warmer (10-15 degrees). It’s a good idea to let these whites sit at room temperature for a few minutes before serving.
Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling have a higher acidity which means they are best appreciated colder. If your white is too warm, try cooling your glass first with ice cubes and pouring smaller serves as you wait for it to chill, rather than adding ice to the wine itself. Or sip faster …
Red wines are delicious served at room temperature, highlighting their balance and texture. Ideal serving temperature? 17-20 degrees for your Pinot Noir, Syrah, Merlot/Malbec.
When reds are served too cold, the tannins can appear not as full, whereas warmer temperatures smooth out the tannins in reds and enhance the fruitiness of the flavours. The only exception is a Beaujolais and most rose’s which have a lighter structure, so they can be chilled.
And of course, storing your wine at the right temperature will also make sure that it is ready to go when you are.
But that’s another blog.