Chilling Wine

Chilling Wine


Which Wines Should Be Chilled?

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.Trinette Reed / Blend Images / Getty Images
Trinette Reed / Blend Images / Getty Images
UpdatedJuly 21, 2015.

Grabbed a bottle of wine and aren't sure whether it needs to be chilled or not before serving? Keep in mind that a wine's serving temperature affects the innate aromatics and flavor profiles. Served too warm and the wine will come across overly alcoholic (aka "hot") and sluggish, serve it too cold and the wine will be mute. The aromas and flavors shut down when overly chilled and won't play well with food (or anything else for that matter).

Which Wines Must Chill?

So which wines should be served well chilled? Whites, rosés and sparkling wines are firmly planted in the "must chill" category. Champagne and sparkling wines demand "ice cold" temperatures to tame the exploding cork and cultivate the best in bubbles, though the higher end Champagnes can handle somewhat warmer temps.


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Which Wines Should Be Chilled?

Wine Expert 

Trinette Reed / Blend Images / Getty Images
Trinette Reed / Blend Images / Getty Images
UpdatedJuly 21, 2015.

Grabbed a bottle of wine and aren't sure whether it needs to be chilled or not before serving? Keep in mind that a wine's serving temperature affects the innate aromatics and flavor profiles. Served too warm and the wine will come across overly alcoholic (aka "hot") and sluggish, serve it too cold and the wine will be mute. The aromas and flavors shut down when overly chilled and won't play well with food (or anything else for that matter).

Which Wines Must Chill?

So which wines should be served well chilled? Whites, rosés and sparkling wines are firmly planted in the "must chill" category. Champagne and sparkling wines demand "ice cold" temperatures to tame the exploding cork and cultivate the best in bubbles, though the higher end Champagnes can handle somewhat warmer temps.

feels cool to the touch. If a given bottle of red is too warm, give it 5-10 minutes in the refrigerator or pop it in the ice bath for 3-5 minutes. Keep in mind that lighter styled reds like Pinot Noir, Grenache, Burgundy, and Cinsault can benefit from more chill than the bigger bolder styles of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Douro reds, Spanish reds, Bordeaux and Barolo or Chianti. 

In general, if the wine tastes overly alcoholic and your palate only feels the heat, then give the wine a chill. If on the other hand, the wine is closed down, lacking inviting aromas and flavor check temps again to see if it may be too warm.

White wines prefer a good chill and rosé wines lean into the same temperature zones for maximum palate presentation. Many (most?) red wines will also benefit from a quick chill prior to serving. The quick chill takes the alcoholic edge off of a red and presents more fruit and finesse in a given wine. Too many restaurants and consumer kitchens are guilty of pouring red wine at room temperature, which in many cases is often hovering around a warmish 72-75 °F, while "room temperature" initially referred to the cooler climates found in say a Bordeaux wine cave - often sticking closer to the lower 60s in terms of thermal capacity.

How to Chill (wine)

The somewhat primitive method of a bucket of ice and cold water will serve a number of wine chilling requirements.

The tried and true half ice and half water bucket is an easy option for chilling everything from sparkling wines to rosé. Simply fill the bucket with enough ice and water to cover the wine bottle to the foil capsule on the bottle neck and let it sit for 20 minutes. For sparkling wines pop the cork and serve right away, for whites and rosés give them five minutes out of ice and then pour and enjoy.

Red wine bottles are best when the bottle feels cool to the touch. If a given bottle of red is too warm, give it 5-10 minutes in the refrigerator or pop it in the ice bath for 3-5 minutes. Keep in mind that lighter styled reds like Pinot Noir, Grenache, Burgundy, and Cinsault can benefit from more chill than the bigger bolder styles of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Douro reds, Spanish reds, Bordeaux and Barolo or Chianti. 

In general, if the wine tastes overly alcoholic and your palate only feels the heat, then give the wine a chill. If on the other hand, the wine is closed down, lacking inviting aromas and flavor check temps again to see if it may be too warm.

Chillin' By the Numbers:

For those wine loving engineers that prefer wine temps by the numbers, here you go.

Optimal Wine Serving Temperatures:

White Wines: 45-50 °F or 7-10 °C

Red Wines: 50-65 °F or 10-18 °C

Rosé Wines: 45-55 °F or 7-13 °C

Sparkling Wines: 42-52 °F 




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