There are only seven more sleeps until Christmas Day and I am just taking a quick look at my smartphone weather outlook across Australia. Most places look like having a nice day with temperatures in the high twenties – Celsius that is. In the Northern hemisphere the forecast, unsurprisingly, is more modest. 10°C (or maybe 50°F) at best! In many many locations red wine will be on the Christmas dinner table.
By tradition, we all talk about serving red wine at “room temperature”. Which subsequently translates into choosing your special bottle for the day, getting it out of storage and probably standing it upright in a room somewhere. The room temperature paradigm is a reasonable rule of thumb in temperate to cool regions such as northern Europe or the USA, from where I guess the rule was probably invented.
But for most of Australia, particularly in summer, this definition doesn’t work. We need to chill! Which sounds like wine blasphemy, right?
Hot (let’s say “too warm”) red wine is not pleasant. All the flavour in the wine is wasted as the alcohol evaporates more easily and blocks the beautiful taste of your wine. On a hot day, the temperature of the wine in your glass or bottle will very quickly rise to the same temperature as its surroundings – hot! So what temperature is a good temperature and how can we achieve that in a hot climate? Here are a few tips…
For red wines the ideal temperature sits between 12°C (say for a lighter wine such as a Pinot Noir or Cabernet Franc) up to 18°C (for a very full bodied Shiraz or cabernet Sauvignon) – yes that’s a very cool day in most parts of Australia in summer, right? It doesn’t matter if you have selected the best bottle possible from Bordeaux or the Barossa, above that 18°C figure and its brilliance will be wasted! An average target temperature of 15°C (60°F) is a good figure to remember.
So here are four solutions to help you appreciate your red wine better over the Australian holiday period :-
- put the bottle of red into the fridge for half an hour before opening and serving
- if already cool then keep it in a wine cooler at the table
- use an ice bucket if need be or store it in the Esky outside with the rest of the drinks for the day
- serve the red wine half glass at a time so it keeps a fresher taste
Remember it’s much easier to let your wine warm up a touch than to try and cool it down once opened. So chill! Start cool and let it quickly warm up to the beautiful Christmas temperature outside.
Chill Australia! No hot red wine thank you! And please please drink only in moderation and do NOT drink then drive.
For more details about serving other wines, please read our #WineTips.