How to Chill Wine Like a Savvy Sommelier
Written by Alyson Aiello on June 29, 2017
Summertime is prime time for entertaining, and whether you’re bringing a bottle of wine to a family gathering, or hosting your own party at home—knowing how to properly chill wine before serving it will not only impress your friends and family, it will elevate their wine experience. Ready to chill wine like a pro? Check out our Q&A with Director of Sommology Missa Capozzo—and prepare to dazzle with your new “chill” skills.
Q) Does chilling wine the proper way really make a difference?
A) Yes! Temperature is one of the most important factors in enjoying all that a wine has to offer. Serving temperature can dramatically affect the flavors and aromas of a wine. Serving temperature can affect the fruit, the feel on the palate, and even the finish of a wine. For instance, if a white wine is chilled too much, it will mute the fruit and you might experience a bitter flavor. If a red wine isn’t chilled enough, the same might occur, as well as experiencing a “hot” finish, or aftertaste.
Q) So, we should chill red wine, not just white?
A) Red wine should be slightly chilled. Not cold, but somewhere between 62-68 degrees, depending on the varietal and the amount of tannins in the wine. This will allow the fruit flavors to come forward while diminishing any harshness on the palate and throat or that “hot” finish.
Q) What’s the right way to chill a red wine?
A) If you don’t own a temperature-controlled wine refrigerator, which many of us don’t—not to worry. You can put your bottle of red wine in your food refrigerator for about 20 minutes, and that should bring it down to an ideal serving temperature. Although each varietal has its own ideal serving temperature, you will be safe serving a red wine at about 63 degrees.
Q) Are there different rules for chilling a white wine, or a rosè?
A) Whites and rosès are best when served between 45-60 degrees, depending on the varietal. If you have a room temperature bottle of white or rosè, you can quickly bring it to proper serving temperature by filling an ice bucket with half-ice, half-water, and letting your wine chill for 20 minutes. You want to make sure, however, that your whites or rosès aren’t overly chilled, which will mute the beautiful fruit flavors on the palate.
Q) What are some chilling no-no’s?
A) Serving a red wine ice cold is a huge no-no. In fact, serving any wine ice cold (other than maybe ice wine) is a huge no-no. You want to enjoy the fruit and the beautiful flavors a wine has to offer, and if it’s extremely cold, those flavors will be muted.
Q) When should we use a cooling accessory, like our Stainless Steel Wine Cubes or Arctic Pole Wine Chiller to chill wine?
A) Our Arctic Pole Wine Chiller and Stainless Steel Wine Cubes are fantastic, convenient accessories designed to help regulate wine temperature. Our Arctic Pole does a great job maintaining the cool temperature of a bottle of pre-chilled white or rosè wine once it’s opened, but will also bring a room temperature red wine down to a cooler serving temperature. The same goes for the Stainless Steel Wine Cubes—they’re both extremely convenient when you’re entertaining on the fly or enjoying wine outdoors in the summertime.
Do you have a burning wine question? Let us know in the comments below. And, check out Traveling Vineyard on YouTube for more wine wisdom with Missa!