September 29, 2011

Around about now if we were in Europe we would be thinking (well I would) about opening a reasonably robust warm tannic red wine to enjoy in front of the fire – just the thing after a day wrapped up against the elements. Well here in the tropics we can still enjoy such wines but we need to serve them a little differently – in a word – chilled!

 I’m sure I don’t need to tell many of you that red wines are best served at something called room temperature – but why is that, what is that and which room?

Why? This is the ideal temperature to maximise the impact of the wine’s aroma due to the release of volatile flavour compounds. Any warmer and the alcohol will evaporate unbalancing the wine which will taste hot and thin. Any cooler and the wine will not have opened up sufficiently and taste quite astringent.

What temperature? Room temperature is defined as being between 16 & 18 ˚C. Well I know none of my rooms here are as cold as that – are yours? Therein lies the problem not only for serving wines here but absolutely for their storage.

Ideally wines should be stored at 15˚C – difficult unless you have a wine fridge. Unfortunately wines stored above 25˚C for any length of time will eventually be spoilt and they will taste “cooked”. Temperatures in between will prematurely age any wine. You may want to rethink your storage options for any bottles that you don’t intend to consume fairly quickly.

Back to that warm tannic red – by the way I’m thinking Cotes-du-Rhone, a Cabernet-Shiraz blend to name a few – personally in this climate I chill my wines too cold for drinking. This ensures that by the time they are poured and being consumed they are just about ideal. A small investment in a wine thermometer (there are many different styles on sale in kitchen goods stores) is a real eye-opener and will help you perfect not only the serving temperature but absolutely guarantee your enjoyment too.




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