Wine is Cool
Your Vintner delivery arrives (woohoo!) and after resisting the urge to “sample” everything, your thoughts turn to getting your bottle of choice ready for its big moment. Should it go in the fridge or be left on the side? It’s a good question that’s often badly answered. The first issue is that different wines like different temperatures, and so do drinkers. The other problem is one of available cooling options. But wine is supposed to be uncomplicated! So how can you get it right without the worry. Sofa Sommelier is here to save the day.
Why does temperature matter?
Wine is all about what you can taste. Yes, tasting notes can be a bit boring, but the flavours are not! A juicy, cherry laden Pinot Noir, or a petrol-filled Riesling, or even a lush, strawberry soaked Côtes de Provence rosé. All delicious.
For the flavours and aromas to really sing, your wine has to be at an appropriate temperature. You’d be surprised at how leaving your wine in (or out) of the fridge for too long can render it a dud. So, when you get your wine home, it’s important to follow a couple of rules to make sure when you do pop the cork, it’s totally worth it.
What about colour?
White in the fridge, red out of the fridge, rosé in the summer, right? No, my friend. And a little yes. Red is typically warmer than a white on serving, but there’s an easy scale to these things.
- Light and fruity (Beaujolais, Pinot Noir) wants 12-14 degrees.
- Medium bodied (Grenache, Cabernet Franc) wants 14-16 degrees.
- Full bodied (Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon) is happy at 16-18 degrees.
White wines have a similar scale, albeit one that is lower…
- Bubbles (Champagne, Prosecco) are best at 5-8 degrees.
- Crisp whites (Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc) are happiest at 8-10 degrees.
- Flavour filled and fuller bodied whites (Viognier, Chardonnay) like it 10-12 degrees.
- (Rosé, for those who look best in pink, is a 10–12 degrees wine as well)
So, stick it all in the fridge?
Most fridges are set around 6 degrees, so if you take the wine straight from the fridge it’s going to taste a bit cold. Nobody likes wine that tastes of cold. If you insist on keeping it there, it needs to come out in good time to warm up again. One thing that will love the fridge is fizz, so if you want to drink straight from the fridge, we recommend a liquid diet of champagne and prosecco (we recommend this anyway, but there we go…)
For those of you not on the fizz diet, you could try a wine fridge. They’re the pinnacle of wine gadgets, and a great way to show everyone you know that grapes are one of your five a day, but they also keep wine at wine temperature, without your cheese being too warm. Lovely, but somewhat unnecessary, and as I’m the sofa sommelier, it seems like we need a more uncomplicated solution. Fortunately, we have a handy guide to getting your wine to just about the right temperature, without the need for extra fridges or your own cellar.
Hopefully you have a fridge and a freezer. If you don’t, stop buying wine and get some basic home appliances. If you do, you have a slow and a quick way to be wine ready…
In the fridge - because you’re an organised human and you have a little time
In the freezer - Because you haven’t even been for a shower yet and dinner is almost ready
In an Ice Bucket - Because it’s been a hell of a day and I just want a glass of wine
*only in the summer
40 minutes for a medium body, 10 minutes up or down for the light and full-bodied bottles
6 minutes for the medium, 2 minutes less for the full bodied, and 2 more for the light
3 minutes for medium, with a minute up or down for the light and full options.
White & rosé
Two hours, give or take 15 minutes for the lighter and bolder bottles and roses.
20 minutes, adding 5 for the lighter wines, and taking 5 for the rosés and fuller-bodied bottles.
8 minutes for medium bodied bottles with an extra 2 for the lighter bottles, and 2 fewer for rosés and heavier whites.
Two and a half hours gets the bubbles bouncing.
25 minutes but watch it carefully. You don’t want to pop too early.
15 minutes in an ice bath jacuzzi for fizz to really sing.
When it’s all said and done, what you really need to do is enjoy what you’re doing, and have a great glass of wine on the side. Don’t take it too seriously and if you manage to add a little more flavour to your festivities, you’ve got it just right.