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I’ve been served warm reds and icy whites. I’ve put ice cubes in warm white wines and balanced bottles of red on the radiator. Once I’ve even tried microwaving a red to warm it up a tad!

The roblem being either that the bottles had not been prepared in advance for the occasion, or the host had a different opinion to me of what the serving temperature should be.

The two most common problems are 1. white too cold and 2. red too warm.

1. This is more easily recoverable; you just cup the glass like a brandy glass and swirl it around to warm it up a bit. The only real iritation is thatiof you’re gagging for that first glass it take a while. The reason why it should not be too cold is that the colder the wine, the less you can taste it. Not a problem if it’s a cheap boring wine, but a waste of money if it’s normally bursting with flavour.

I learnt early on in my vinous career that it was a crude ploy of some less scrupulous producers to show us their wines icy cold in order to try and hide their imperfections. However, if you really have no option but to drink a poor quality cheap wine, then definitely make it as icy cold as you can so it won’t taste as bad. You won’t avoid the headache next day, though!

2. Red too warm….altogether harder to deal with short of a quick blast in the freezer. (Don’t forget it’s there, though! (been there, done that!). Room Temperature they say, but did you know that back in the ’50s when they first set that as a rule, the average UK living room temperature was 18 C compared to today’s 23°C. 23°C…IS.. TOO.. WARM…

For Whites, roses and reds there is no single optimum temperature. It will vary with the wine, especially reds where the lower the tannins the lower the temperature can and should be. (i.e many Pinot Noirs, Fleurie.)

But, if the red is big and tannic and it’s too cold, then all you will taste are those bitter tannins and none of the fruit flavours.

It’s a nighmare.So I asked a few of my suppliers from around the world for advice on the optimum temperature for their wines and here’s what they said;

Diane at Chateau d’Or et de Gueules said that light whites would be 8-9°C, but her richer whites should be warmer at 11-12°C. Her lighter Syrah Charlotte Red at 14-15°C, but the bigger Trassegum red at 17-18°C

Danilo at Verus said all his whites are best around 11-12°C

Clotilde from Champagne Marc Chauvet said exactly; ”

I like Champagne when it is really cold , I prefer to start a glass a bit too cold and finish it at the right temperature rather than being too hot at the end, which means 6 to 8 degres.”

….and I’ve got my fridge set at 7°C, so what do I know?!

Sounds like a reason to buy a dedicated wine fridge, one of those where you can set different compartments at different temperatures. Christmas is coming!

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