You may be sick of me carping on about wine temperature, or you may be a staunch supporter of my unfortunately acronymed WART campaign. Personally I am getting ever more fed up of the ignorance of British bar and restaurant staff bringing me Beaujolais from the wine oven and Chablis from the beer freezer.
But what worries me more is the attitude I get when I ask for a red wine to be chilled. Replies range from the polite but sardonic “That’s a red wine, sir, it should be served at room temperature” to the downright rude and sneering “You’re wrong, sir, it should be served warm”.
As it is Christmas, I dug out one of last year’s presents, a wine thermometer. It is quite enlightening to read the instructions and I hope I am not breaching copyright by reproducing them verbatim.
The single most important factor of serving wine at its optimum is the temperature. The enclosed thermometer will give you an exact reading for you to follow on our guide and eliminate the need for guesswork. We recommend you serve wine one degree lower than the guide indicates to compensate for the wine glass warming up to room temperature.
16-17°C – Vintage red wines when mature Bordeaux type
15-16°C – Vintage Burgundy type
14-16°C – High quality or vintage red wines still young
14-16°C – Vintage dry white wines
11-12°C – Light fruity or young red wines
10-12°C – Dry and young white wines
10-12°C – New or young red wines
10-12°C – Very fruity rosé wines
8-10°C – Light or local white wines
7-8°C – Champagne or sparkling wine
5-6°C – Sweet or aromatic wines
Whilst you may quibble about some of the individual detail, and I could find a case to change one or two recommendations by a degree or two, the range of recommended temperatures is valid. When you consider that most restos serve all red wines at 25 degrees and all white wines at 5 degrees Celsius, it is clear there is some education required out there.
By the way, if you don’t own a thermometer, about an hour in my fridge gets a wine down to about 15-16°C.
Now I have had my rant I can get back to the Xmas festivities and a particularly feisty yet lithesome bottle of Riesling. Can I take this opportunity of wishing you all the highest compliments of the season. May your food be warm and tasty, and your wine chilled and dandy.