Should Red Wine Be Chilled?

We all love to wind down with a chilled drink after a hard week, right? A lot of us will enjoy an ice-cold beer and a lot of us will enjoy a chilled, dry white wine – but this raises a few questions.

Have you ever been in a restaurant and received red wine in an ice bucket? No. You would have received white wine in an ice bucket though. So, what’s the deal with that?

Well, at its most basic – not all wines are the same and the best way to enjoy a specific wine is to make sure it’s served at the correct temperature.

This guide will examine how red wine should be enjoyed, along with why this might be and how it differs from other wines.

So, get yourself a drink and read on – let’s get into it.

So, Should Red Wine Be Served Chilled?

Okay, so this needs to be clarified. Any red wine should be served chilled to be enjoyed at its absolute best, but there is a difference between chilled and cold. 

When red wine is too cold or too warm, the taste and overall consistency is ruined and you no longer have the perfect glass of wine. 

This is why if you order a bottle of wine from a restaurant, the red wine will come over away from a bucket without an ice cube in sight.

This is because most restaurants will have stored the red wine at the correct temperature before it arrives at your table.

Due to how they’re often seen at places like French or Italian restaurants though, it’s become a common misconception as to what the correct wine temperature should be.

Well, the ideal temperature with a bottle of red wine is between 55 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

If it’s served too warm, the acidity and the structure, along with alcohol content completely changes and your glass of wine tastes completely different to how you’d expect it to.

Likewise, if the temperature served has dropped below 55 degrees, the content of the alcohol is very difficult to assess and the smell and flavor of the wine is halted.

This is particularly more important when you’re ordering the more expensive red wines. You wouldn’t want to ruin the ideal drink for the summer and the winter. 

What About Rose And White Wine?

Rosé wine acts like a lighter red wine when it comes to the chilling process. Most wine experts agree that the lighter the wine is, the more chilled it will need to be served. 

An essential aspect with wine to remember is the chemical composition plays a vital role in the overall quality of the wine taste and consistency.

Their acidity and purpose are very significant to know before you go and store your wines. 

For example, a dessert wine will have plenty of residual sugar and needs to be stored correctly, red wines need to have their tannins considered before storing and white sparkling wines contain carbon dioxide – which wildly changes the chemical make-up of the wine. 

Most people, regardless of how much wine knowledge they have, will know that white wines are always best served chilled.

Again, using the restaurant example – if you order a white wine bottle in a restaurant, the chances are it will arrive in an ice bucket. 

This is down to its composition again. When white wine is chilled, its acidity and alcohol rises and this makes it a much better drink to consume.

However, much like red wine – it’s also important to note that if the internal temperature of white wine significantly drops (like freezes), the aroma and tastes will become subdued. 

The thing to remember when it comes to wine temperature is, there is a very fine line between the ideal and perfect temperature and then a temperature which ruins its overall quality. 

So, How Do I Get The Perfect Temperature For My Wine?

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This will depend on your circumstances, but if you’re going to enjoy a bottle of wine at home, it’s much easier. 

In a normal refrigerator, place your bottle of wine inside for around an hour to 90 minutes maximum. If you’re going to drink a Pinot Noir or a bottle of Beaujolais, you can enjoy it right after these 90 minutes have come up.

However, wines with much higher tannin levels will be best served a little warmer, so it’s suggested that you leave the bottle settle for around 5-10 minutes after removing it from the refrigerator.

Failing that, you could simply take them out after around 45 minutes in the refrigerator. 

If you’re out at a restaurant, you do not need to worry as they will have thought about the wine temperature already – however, if the wine is not up to your standard, you should always request for a replacement. 

At the end of it although, it will all come down to personal preference, so if you enjoy your wine in a specific way – then you continue to do so!

Tips For Wine Storage 

Regardless if you’re a Sauvignon Blanc or Merlot type of wine drinker, it’s always critical to ensure you’re storing your wine in the best possible way. Here are some tips for ways to do that:

Cellar Temperature 

Depending on your wine collection, you might be able to regulate a specific wine cellar temperature.

If you can do this, be sure to check with a wine expert for the best and optimum storage temperature and always perform “stock rotation”. 

In other words, drink the wine you first put in the cellar rather than the last, unless you have a particularly special reason to save the bottle!

Speaking With A Wine Expert 

If you can, try to visit a wine vineyard, take part in wine tasting and speak with a wine expert.

They will always have the best knowledge for how to store your wine and which wines do best under certain conditions. 

They can even tell you the best foods to enjoy with your wine! So, it’s always a good idea to speak with the experts to get all of your wine tip needs!

Try And Test 

Sometimes, wine taste comes down to your own palate. If you can, you should try multiple wines at different temperatures to see what you prefer and how you enjoy your wine. 

As with other things in life – experience cannot be beaten. So, note your findings and continue to try to test your wines! 

Ensure It’s Out Of Direct Sunlight 

Although vineyards are usually found in very warm conditions, wine storage is much advised to be out of direct sunlight to protect its overall make-up and quality. 

Wine cellars are best to have, but sometimes this isn’t possible. Consider having a cupboard or shelves built-in to your kitchen specifically for wine bottles.

You don’t want to ruin a good bottle of wine!

The Bottom Line

Yes, red wine should be chilled but not too chilled – the same with many other wines.

Different wines require different storage and temperatures to be enjoyed at their very best, so speak with an expert for the most accurate knowledge of your specific wine!