We all know that the temperature of wine can have a dramatic effect on its taste and aromas. Chilled white wine or rosé provide a very different taste experience than the same wines at room temperature. But it’s not likely that we’d ever serve them at the wrong temperature since we probably store them in the refrigerator.
Since we drink reds at room temperature, we probably keep them on counter tops or wine racks despite ambient temperatures,which can be very different, depending on the season. A red will deliver its best flavors and aromas at 60 to 65 degrees, so room temperature in the summertime is way too warm for red wine whether we employ air conditioning or not. But putting the bottle in the refrigerator for a half hour will work wonders.
Apart from cooler wine being more pleasurable in hot weather, cool temperatures can enhance certain red wines in several ways.Higher alcohol wines from 14.5 to 15 percent alcohol can taste flabby if they are short on acid and the clean taste that it provides. Especially higher alcohol California wines may have this problem, and reducing their temperature to 60 or 65 degrees amplifies the acid sensation in much the same way that chilling white wine does.
Another advantage of cooling a big red wine is that around 15 percent alcohol, you can usually taste the alcohol, especially if the wine is 70 degrees, because at that temperature, the alcohol is evaporating under your nose. But at 60 to 65 degrees, the alcohol is firmly in solution so that fruit flavors and aromas can emerge.
Lighter and lower-alcohol red wines will certainly be enhanced at cooler temperatures around 60 degrees because fruit flavors, aromas, and acidity are not only bolder at that temperature but will be more refreshing in warm weather much like a chilled white.
The only red wines that would not lend themselves to lower temperatures would be more tannic and age-worthy wines like Cabernet Sauvignon since lower temperatures exaggerate tannin sensations and bitterness.Such wines are better served at higher temperatures but still under 70 degrees.
Especially in the summertime, restaurants might be serving red wines too warm, so even though you might get resistance from a server, ask for an ice bucket if the bottle is too warm. And remember that these same guidelines are appropriate in the winter although ideal serving temperatures for reds probably won’t require time in the refrigerator.