As well as trying my best to source interesting wines I have for a long time realised the importance of serving wine at the correct temperature and serving it in a decent wine glass. We will tackle temperature today and stemware next.
Most of us drink white wine straight out of the fridge where the temperature is approximately 6 Degrees C. This is way cooler than most experts recommend. For a half decent dry white wine, about 10 C is right and for a better quality Chablis, about 12 C. It is easy to lose much of the flavour at too low a temperature, most taste dull and insipid.
I have conducted a simple experiment to see how long a wine would take to reach 10 C from 6 C. For the record, If your room is 20 C then it will take 37 minutes to reach the correct temperature. So all we need is a little forethought.
When eating out, I have had ongoing battles with waiters who will serve your white or rose in an ice bucket when it is clear to me that the wine is becoming too chilled. I remove it from the bucket and place it on the table, yet they keep hovering over you trying to put it back at any opportunity. I have taken to placing it in the most inaccessible part of the table so they cannot reach !
Whilst I am having a moan, I have only just recently realised that they top up your glass so frequently in order to speed up your drinking, hoping your will order another bottle.
Anyway, conversely, most reds are served at too high a temperature. If you think your home is probably 20 C and most bars and restaurants are probably substantially warmer than this. Only the best quality Bordeaux’s should be served at no more than 18 C. Reducing the temperature of a Cote du Rhone or any standard wine by a few degrees to 15 C can knock off a few rough edges and add to your enjoyment.
If you are dining out, don’t be shy and insist on an ice bucket if you think your red is too warm. I am sure the waiting staff will look at you as if you are a madman but remember who is paying the bill. I remember seeing a frighteningly urbane Parisian doing just this on a £250 bottle of Chateau Palmer on a barmy night in the south of France a couple of years ago with no hint of embarrassment
So next time, glasses