By Glen Frederiksen
Those of us in the world of wine know that many factors can influence the taste and appreciation of a fine Chardonnay or Cabernet Sauvignon. Are the grapes picked early or late? Is there residual sugar left in the finished wine? Did the wine undergo a secondary fermentation? Was it barrel aged? Is the wine flawed?
These, and many other factors, are addressed in the vineyard and in the process of vinifying grapes into wine by the winemaker.
Once it arrives in the marketplace, additional factors can affect the way a wine smells and tastes. Food pairings bring out and/or emphasize different aromas and flavors in wine. The glassware used to serve that wine can alter our perception of it.
Lastly, the temperature a wine is served at can make a big difference. Too cold, and wines close down the fruit components and over-emphasize wood treatments and natural acidity. Too warm, and a wine can become “blowsy,” with the alcohol in the wine becoming too prominent.
So, what is the right temperature? Restaurants would have you believe that all whites and sparkling wine bottles should be doused in a bucket of ice water, while all reds should be served at room temperature.
It really isn’t that easy. Buttery, oaked Chardonnays need more warmth than Champagne or steel-fermented Sauvignon Blanc. Rosés could use a bit of a chill. And full-bodied reds tend to be best at a cool room temperature of around 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit – try finding that in a restaurant in America.
So, what is the answer? Wakefield Estate winery of Clare Valley in Australia has devised a full-proof way of knowing when a wine is at its peak temperature for serving. Besides prominently displaying a tag listing the correct temperature on each bottle (many wineries do this), they have gone the extra mile and included a temperature-sensitive strip that shows when a bottle of wine has reached its optimal temperature for serving. It is on the back of every bottle they now produce, and is a handy way of knowing when to pop the cork (or unscrew the cap) and pour a glass.
Wakefield Estate wines are available in the wine marketplace world-wide. To see our reviews of the latest bottlings, click the link here.