No, heresy! Summer shock report from Paradise Rescued. Put your red wine in the fridge! Yes, that’s right – you read the headline correctly!
Following a fairly late and lacklustre spring here in Melbourne, summer is finally starting to emerge. The thermometer today passed 30C for the first time and one could say it was warm. As I prepared the evening meal, I picked out a nice bottle of red wine to pair with the meal. And then suddenly I realised that that I was about to make that old mistake again!
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. The right temperature is important to appreciate red wine fully.
So here are four solutions to help you appreciate your red wine better over the Australian summer period :-
- put the bottle of red into the fridge for half an hour before opening and serving. Yes that’s right fridge – not freezer!
- 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 and can gently warm up whilst being drunk.
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 summer temperature outside.
Chill Australia! No hot red wine thank you! Put your wine in the fridge. And as always – please please drink only in moderation and do NOT drink then drive.
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