Mr Grumpy: the world’s worst wine advice

I recently visited a friend for dinner. He’d organised a special bottle of red for the occasion and had decanted it one hour before I arrived. It was a hot, muggy Auckland evening. As I parked the car I noted that the air temperature was 26°C. It was even warmer in my friend’s dining room.

My suggestion that we put the wine in the fridge for 15 minutes was greeted with good-natured laughter.It was a good red ruined. My suggestion that we put the wine in the fridge for 15 minutes was greeted with good-natured laughter. The world’s second-to-worst wine advice must be “never chill red wine”, just slightly ahead of “never warm red wine in the microwave”.

What’s the correct temperature for red wine? That depends on the nature of the wine, room temperature and personal taste. As red wine becomes cooler it loses flavour and the tannins become more pronounced. On the positive side, the wine becomes more tactile. Softer reds, such as pinot noir, can stand a little more chilling than firmer reds like cabernet sauvignon or syrah in my experience. Few people like to drink tepid red wine.

Five minutes in a slurry of cold water and ice or ten minutes in the fridge will rapidly revive overheated reds.

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