There is a standing concept that red wines are to be served at room temperature while white wines are to be served chilled. However, some people prefer their red wines chilled and others debate about how best to chill any kind of a wine. Rest assured that when you make a reservation at a quality Napa Valley hotel, they know how to do it right. At the same time, there are a few simple facts you too should know about chilling wines and the details of the process.
Chilling Red or White
If you were to ask the average person, they would say to serve a white wine chilled and a red wine at room temperature. That might be correct if you are living in times when bottling wine first became popular, but today it is more about personal preference. In fact, there were times when wine was served heated to stave away the cold chill of the air. However, if you prefer this method, put the white wine in the fridge 20 minutes before serving it and take the red wine out of the fridge 20 minutes before serving it.
In Europe, the common room temperature is about 13 degrees lower than it is in the US. Compared the to US, Europeans who serve red wine at room temperature are serving it chilled. White wines were often chilled to colder temperatures so that the taste of a poor wine could be masked. (Just about any drink tastes better cold.)
How to Chill Wine
One of the biggest arguments is that you should never chill a wine in the freezer because it chills it too fast. This is wholly untrue, but the freezer really is not the best place to put your wine. When you put a bottle of wine in the freezer, you risk a few things.
- Wine might get too cold and cause tartaric acid to turn into crystals you can feel.
- You might forget the wine.
- The cork may get stiff.
Ice buckets are made specifically so that the neck and the cork are both out of the ice. When using an ice bucket, ice water is actually the fastest way to chill wine, but by keeping the neck out of the bucket you don’t have to worry about altering the cork or the wax around it that can become like an adhesive when it gets too cold.