Australia is a pretty warm place, and because of this we can have a bit of an issue about temperature and wine. Sure we love our beer colder than a polar bears paws, but we do tend to go a little overboard with our white wines. Likewise, we leave our reds laying around, and when it says room temperature to serve, that doesn’t mean the Queensland room on a hot summers day. In essence, our whites are served too cold and our reds served too warm.
So what are the right temperatures for wine? Nothing is set in stone of course, but here are some good rules of thumb to help you on your way.
Champagne/Sparking wine – Brrr.
These wines actually do benefit from a very cold chill. The bead (fizz in the wine) requires cold temperatures to look its best. Warm sparkling wines run the risk of being flat or popping unexpectedly!
Aromatic Whites (e.g. Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Gewurztraminers, Pinot Gris/Grigio etc)
medium chill, make sure that you keep the acidity nice and fresh but also let those glorious perfumes work their magic – too cold and you can deaden the wines best features. Make sure you chill well, but not for too long.
Medium bodied/Oaked whites (e.g. Chardonnay, Viognier etc)
Lightly chilled is the way to go. The oaky flavours and greater fruit intensity/concentration need to shine to ensure these wines look balanced. Too cold and the wine dulls and can lose its fresh feel or starts to look awkward without all its bits in the right place.
Rose (and some Pinot Noirs, Gamays and Grenaches)
Just a hint of chill. Allow the bright red fruits to shine. Let the natural acidity of the wines work their magic without too much chill.
Room temperature has always been the suggestion, but keep in mind that usually refers to European temperature, and not the fire breathing days in summers of Australia. Store wines in cool places and serve straight from them. Letting wines come to room temperature is like slow cooking and can damage the wine.
Frosty. These wines contain more sugar and viscosity so are able to withstand additional chill. They look fresher and tighter when super cold, which can make them even more appealing.
Need to chill quickly?
Easy. Just grab towel, bucket, ice and water. Create a slurry with the ice and water in the bucket and slide the bottle in – should take around 20 minutes to come down to an ideal drinking temperature. A second technique if no ice is handy - wrap a wet towel around the bottle and insert into the freezer… leave for around 20 minutes again!