By Iain Yule, Wine enthusiast at Ettington Park Hotel
My name is Iain Yule and I have had an interest in wines for over 30 years, ever since I worked as part-time waiter.
I advise on food and wine pairings and recommendations for the hotel. I am delighted to share with you my top tips on how to serve the perfect wine at home.
When it comes to serving wine perfectly, temperature matters.
If you change the temperature, you change the wine. Too cold and it will not show much character, too warm and it can taste overly alcoholic and soupy. Getting the temperature of wine right can have a big impact on your enjoyment as all of the character and subtleties are revealed as the winemaker would have intended. The aim is of course is hitting the right temperature.
Here are a few suggestions to help you ensure the temperature of your wine is perfect every time:
Most of us are not fortunate enough to have an underground cellar in which to store our wines. There are things we can do to improve the storage conditions, every room has hot spots – next to radiators or appliances such as fridges or freezers. Make sure your wines are stored as far away from these as possible. A more constant room temperature is better for wine in general.
2. Plan ahead
By far the best way to bring wine to the correct serving temperature is in a gradual and controlled fashion, wherever possible try to anticipate your needs and raise or lower the temperature over a few hours as required. Attempts to accelerate the temperate can often be overdone and results in an over-heated wine that does not show its true potential.
3. Stretch convention
The established convention that white wines are served chilled and red wines at room temperature tells only half of the story. Many whites especially bigger wines like Chardonnay or Viognier will be a little colder than recommended when they first come out of the fridge. If you can resist the urge to then plunge them into a bucket of ice then you will reap the benefits as they gradually reveal layers of character and complexity as they warm up. Next time you enjoy a bottle of white wine leave the bottle of wine on the table prior to enjoying. The wine will evolve in ways that may make you wonder what you have been missing.
Likewise with red wine – room temperature can vary considerably in the world of the centrally heated home. At home I often pop my red wine in the fridge for half an hour while my dinner cooks to reveal a more refreshing and re-invigorated wine. When dining out why not ask the waiter for an ice bucket to pop your red wine into – lots of reds from punchy Aussie Shiraz to more delicate Beaujolais or Pinot Noir can benefit from a quick ice bath.
Infographic by Bibendum Wines