Wine Questionary:

Serving temperature for wine?

White wines should be served chilled and red wines at room temperature. This is one of the most basic of the many "rules" about wine, and like most of the rules, it usually makes good sense. Most red wines seem dank and flavorless if they're served ice cold, opening up at warmer temperatures to display their aromas and flavors. Whites, in contrast, seem crisp and refreshing when they're served with a chill; many of them seem bland and almost cloying if they get too warm.

But what's "room temperature"? In the U.S., it's not unusual for it to reach 80F (27C) even when the air-conditioner is running; but I remember a trip to Scotland one fine autumn when my host's rooms have hovered around a brisk 18C (65F).

I submit that there's no harm in placing your red wine in the refrigerator for a short stay before dinner. Don't leave it too long -- 20 to 40 minutes on the refrigerator shelf is about right for most reds, up to possibly an hour for light and fruity styles like Beaujolais. An hour in a typical home refrigerator should bring your wine down to the natural temperature of an underground cellar (54F or 12C), which isn't really too cold for most reds; but don't worry if you miss the mark. It doesn't take long for it to come back up again, and the wine won't be damaged. \r\n

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