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Sparkling, fresh white (like Sauvignon Blanc) and rosé wines are served cold. But how cold? Some three hours in the refrigerator at 8°Celsius approximately and then straight to the glass without leaving the bottle in the open air.
And if we let it get warmer? We will not sense the acidity, the fruit will be heavier and the freshness will be lost.
Whites with more body and structure, like Chardonnay, which have usually been kept in casks, express their aromas better when the wine is around 10 to 12°C, or even 14°C for ultra premium wines.
And if we serve them colder? We will not feel the wine’s aromas and flavors, and this makes no sense.
With the red wine varieties we should be careful with the temperature because if we pass 20°C, the wine will show more alcohol than fruit, tired tannins and be heavy in the mouth.
However, we can standardize 14°C as the minimum and 18°C as the maximum.
“There are various suggestions for knowing the temperature, but they are very relative,” clarifies Gabriel Salas, sommelier of Concha y Toro.
“For example, the glass mists up when pouring white wine. This generally indicates that it is very cold, but perhaps the glass is warm or the atmosphere very humid.”
An important point is that the glass should never be very full, this avoiding the wine rising in temperature.
“A white wine should be served in a smaller glass than the red and never be filled to more than about 1/3 of the glass. On the other hand, red may be served up to 2/3 but, for my taste, it is best just up to a half.”
Another alternative for serving wine, explains Mr. Salas, is placing the red in the refrigerator for an hour. This clearly cools the wine but when taking it out and thanks to the room temperature, this will gradually rise to some 16 to 18°C.
The thing is that red wines are generally served too warm, which damages their aromatic expression and the leaves the wine a bit alcoholic.
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