One of the questions I get asked as a Sommelier in training and a wine-lover, is the temperature of wine. And with the warmer weather upon us, I thought I would touch on this subject. Most people, and I mean most people, still serve red wine at current ‘room temperatures’. These temperatures are too warm for a red wine. The term ‘room temperature’ was designed as such, to reflect the room temperature of the underground wine cellars which were basically around 55-degrees Fahrenheit which is about 13-degrees celsius. Yup, red wine is to be served between 13-degrees to 18-degrees tops! Average red wine, 15 – 16 degrees!
Jaws are dropping right about now . And I’m willing to bet there are a few people headed over to their thermostats to see what the temperature in the room is. And if it’s in the 20’s, you shouldn’t be drinking your red wine straight out of the wine rack.
You see, different room temperatures can do very different things to wine. The biggest one for me personally is the taste. Duh! A warmer red wine tastes jammier than it’s supposed to. Now many red wines have jammy flavors, but they are not supposed to over-power the wine. If all you can taste is jamminess, you could be missing out on a bunch of other subtle flavors and nuances that the winemaker had in mind. I have the same problem with a red wine that is too cold. Some of the subtle flavors can be basically frozen.
There isn’t much chance you will serve your white or rose wines at the wrong temperature because chances are you keep them in the refrigerator. Reds, however, tend to be kept in wine racks or in cupboards. Here’s the solution. Put your bottle of red wine in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes, and you will notice a big difference. Some people also store a red wine in the refrigerator and take it out 30 minutes before they go to serve it. This is a great idea in the Summer months. And keep your wines in a cooler place, you don’t want your red wine or any wine to be in a room that is warmer than 30-degrees Celsius. It can alter the wine.
And don’t think because you are in a restaurant, even a fancy restaurant, or even a wine bar, that they are serving the wine at the proper temperature. It continues to amaze me how many restaurants serve their red wine at the wrong temperatures. Don’t be afraid to ask for an ice bucket, even if you are having a red wine. Especially in the upcoming Summer months. You can always take it out of the bucket if you feel it’s getting too cold.
Here’s a new wine I’ve tried this past week. The Ravenswood Old Vine Zinfandel. Now I have had it’s sister wine before, which is also a Zinfandel but not an old vine Zinfandel. You maybe asking yourself what’s the difference? Old vines tend to be at least 40 to 50 years old.
Here’s a picture of the sister wiine. I have probably written about it. Well this vineyard has put out an Old Vine Zinfandel and I got to enjoy the 2014 version. This was an interesting wine because 2 people I know who aren’t normally Zinfandel fans, tried this wine and liked it. This family has been making Zinfandel wine for 40 years, and let me tell you, I think they are getting quite good ad it. Bright and friendly, this wine boasts cherry, raspberry jam and spicy clove flavors. I liked it………. a lot!
And my wine of the week features an interesting label…
Two brothers, Jake and Josh Beckett, who were raised in the heart of Paso Robles, had an idea for a wine that fits a casual lifestyle. Both these brothers worked for Peachy Canyon Vineyard, which of course I’m a huge fan of those wines. And in 2004 decided to do their own project and launched this wine for the first time in 2008.
Here’s a picture of the two brothers having a bit of fun. They have made a bubbly wine, a dessert wine, several whites and several reds. All with uniquely different labels that might have you thinking, hmmm, wonder what the wine is like. I had the Purple Paradise which is a combination Zinfandel, Syrah, Petite Sirah and Grenache. This is a great wine at a great price. Smoky vanilla flavors with lush fruit, cherries, chocolate and a hint of leather. What’s not to love. Try this wine this Summer with a BBQ, you’ll love it.
Enjoy the weekend everyone.
Till next week, Cheers