Don't ice that white!
Let's start with the hypothesis: I almost never serve white wine straight out of the refrigerator. Why not? I find that whites almost invariably show their best when they're a bit warmer than refrigerator temperature.
It's easy, and fun, to test this: Get out your notebook and pour a glass straight from the fridge (or better still, from an ice bucket so it's as close to freezing as possible). Taste it right away, and jot down your impressions. Then leave it for a while; return, and repeat the process. Do this several times over an hour or two, and note what happens as the wine warms from ice-cold toward room temperature.
If you're like me, you'll find that the qualities of the wine change markedly as it warms. You don't get much aroma or flavor out of it when it's very cold. When it gets too warm, though, you may find it becomes flabby and dull - this is why whites are usually served chilled, in contrast with reds, which seem to taste best at cool room temperature.
But somewhere in between too cold and too warm, you'll find a range of temperatures in which the sensory qualities open up while the wine is still cold enough to be refreshing. What temperature exactly? That depends on your taste and to some extent on the specific wine; but I find that 45 to 50F (7 to 10C) is usually good. But don't take my word for it. Try the test for yourself, and see what works for you.
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Friday, Sept. 14, 2001