Monday, July 7, 2014

How To Chill Your Wine

Our new refrigerator was delivered on Thursday and boy was I happy.  I was tired of living out of my college dorm fridge and a cooler that I had to purchase ice for every day.  When I got home that day the fridge was plugged in and working and when I opened it there were 5 bottles of white chilling. (or so I thought) It was hot out and I was dying for a glass of a nice crisp white.

I opened the fridge and grabbed one of those bottles.  I thought Paul was being so thoughtful in chilling them. BUT, what I failed to realize was that the fridge had only been on for 45 minutes and they weren't to cold because the fridge wasn't cold, it had just been turned on, so that left sticking it in the freezer as not an option.   Then I thought to chill them with the ice and water from the cooler, but that wasn't an option since the water wasn't that cold and all the ice had melted.  Don't worry, I opened a Pinot Noir and was happy.

That led me to think about how the chilling time of wine and what the proper temperature should be.  If a wine is to cold, it will lack the aroma and flavor until it begins to warm up.   If a white wine is to warm you won't get the acidity and minerality or expression of terrior.  When a red wine is to warm you get alcohol and a mush of fruit and oak.  Where when it's at the proper temperature you'll get liveliness and freshness of the wine.

So what is the right temperature, time in the fridge, freezer (yes we are all guilty of this ) or the best in a bucket with ice and water.

Sparkling Wine should be served between 45 and 50 degrees.  Plan ahead and it should take 2 1/2 hours in the fridge, 20-25 minutes in your freezer and 10 minutes in a bucket of ice with water.

White and Rose Wine should be served around 50 degrees.  It should take approximately 2 to 2 1/2 hours to chill in the fridge, 25 minutes in freezer and about 7 - 10 minutes in a bucket of ice with water.

Red Wine can be served to warm.  Best temp is between 62 and 68 degrees.  However lighter bodied red table wines should be served between 55 and 62 degrees.  If you want to cool off your red wine stick it in the fridge for about 40 minutes, in the freezer for 6 minutes and in that bucket of ice with water for 3.  

Sweet Wines always in question for me. Sweet wines like ice wines should be served around 40 degrees.  Just chill if for 2 hours in the fridge, 15 minutes in the freezer of 10 minutes in a bucket of ice with water. If you are serving port, I would suggest about 63 degrees.  Put it in the fridge for about 30 minutes, freezer for about 5 and in the bucket of water with ice for 3.

You can also purchase a wine bottle thermometer.  They are pretty inexpensive and will give you a pretty good reading so you can pop that cork and know the wine is ready.
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