Tradition holds that red wines are for drinking during cold weather because they have a tendency to warm you and that white wines are for summer months when you want a cooler drink.
Convention also says that red wines are served at room temperature while whites are served cold. But for wine drinkers who prefer red wines, there is a conflict.
Suppose you want to continue to drink your red wine, but desire a cooler temperature?
It is a conundrum that never seems to go away – should you put ice cubes in your red wine if you desire a cool drink?
Of course, you can do whatever you like, but is it a good solution?
Adding ice to your wine is often looked upon with disdain by other wine drinkers after all the wine maker has gone to great lengths to craft the wine’s flavor. So yes, wine temperature is a matter of personal preference, but it is also a matter of science.
Wine Temperatures 101
Wine temperature is a key element in knowing how to best store and serve your wines. The rules are not set in stone, but there are several guides that can help you keep your wine at its best flavor and prevent chemical deterioration.
Guest blogger Kate Robinson posted the Wine Serving and Storage Temperatures 101 article, which includes helpful guides for the optimum temperature for serving and storing red wines.
For storing temperatures there are no solid rules. For red wines, the best place for storage is a cool and dark place void of sunlight and away from excessive heat. Excessive heat and light can ruin a good wine by causing its chemicals to deteriorate.
Ice Cubes in Red wine?
Robinson states that most red wines should be served at temperatures between 60F to 68F (16C to 20C). This sets the temperature just below room temperature so that the wine is not overly warmed.
When red wine is served too cold it can result in an unpleasant acidic taste and more prominent tannins. Lower temperatures have a tendency to suppress the wine’s aroma and chemical makeup.
Aroma and mouth feel are two critical components of wine tasting. Within each glass of wine are various combinations of flavors and aromas, such as apple, blackberries, oak, rose petal, vanilla, and cherry (just to name a few). Simply put, adding an ice to your glass of red wine prevents the chemicals from escaping into the air and giving the wine the taste that it is intended to have.
The cold delivered by the ice cubes will cause the wine to quickly lose its taste.
The problem becomes even more exaggerated when the melted ice adds more water to the wine further diluting the aromas. This dilution also affects the acidity and tannins in the wine that then diminishes the intensity of the mouth feel.
Carolyn F. Ross and Karen Weller have detailed the sensory effects of wine and temperature in an article published in The Journal of Sensory Studies. The title of their study is Effect of Serving Temperature on the Sensory Attributes of Red and White Wines.
The purpose of the study was to examine the sensory impact of the serving temperature of wines on prominent wine sensory qualities. While it is common practice to serve red wine at room temperature because it is thought to enhance wine aroma while quieting the bitterness often found in red wines, there has been little scientific research that addresses the effect of serving temperatures on wine attributes.
Carolyn Ross also pairs up with John Reganold in creating a very readable bulleted informative document for wine lovers. This document provides the reader with charts and graphs explaining the science behind the making and enjoying of wine with a particular emphasis on the sensory experience of wine drinking.
Science or no science, you just want to enjoy your red wine chilled. There are some alternative ways for you to do this without severely altering the attributes of the wine.
Chilling your wine is simply that – chilling. You don’t want to drop ice cubes into your wine glass or you will end up with a diluted flat tasting wine and alter the wine’s attributes.
Here are some alternative ways to chill your red wine without the use of ice cubes.
• Ice Bucket – Place the bottle into an ice bucket for approximately fifteen minutes.
• Refrigerator – Place the wine bottle in a refrigerator for fifteen to thirty minutes. You want to reinvigorate the wine, not turn it into slush.
• Wine Chillers – There are currently products on the market that are made to chill your wine. They fit into the wine bottle and can cool down room temperature reds.
• Grapes – Chill the wine with the fruit that it is made with. Purchase grapes, and place them in the freezer. Add about four grapes to your wine glass and in less than five minutes it will drop the temperature approximately twenty degrees.
• Wine Cubes – Instead of using ice cubes made from water, freeze the wine itself in ice cube trays and then add them to your wine.
For more info, check out these 7 Ways to Keep Wine Cool This Summer
There is a fine line between enjoying your wine at its best and ruining its flavor. Enjoy your wine, and seek out some refreshing ways to chill it to perfection.
This guest post was written by Stanley Hughes Exclusively for Social Vignerons. Featured images cutresy of Pixabay.com.