**This article first appeared in The Indian Scene Magazine July 2020**
To present wine at their best potential, it is vital to store the wines in the right conditions and then serve them at the optimal temperatures. Taking these extra measures will ensure that you are flaunting the wine’s most stellar qualities in regards to the bouquet, tastes, tannins, and the wine’s own unique characteristics.
There are many varying viewpoints on what temperature wine should be stored and served, but the consensus is that wine should be stored at lower temperatures and served slightly chilled. This is the case for both white and red wines.
Best Way To Store Wine
Wine is a delicate beverage and should be handled with care as it can easily spoil. The following are the best tips for keeping your wines safe until you are ready to serve. Wine storage is not complicated and these simple practices will ensure your wines will remain in optimal condition until you are ready to drink.
Tip #1 – Store wine in a dry, cool space – Heat is the enemy. If a wine gets too hot, you essentially end up stewing the wine and spoiling the flavor profile. The ideal storage temperature is between 45-65 degrees. Wine is very sensitive to changes in temperature, so a consistent moderate temperature control is key. Keep your humidity in check, too much or little humidity can impact the wine.
Tip #2 – Store wine in a dark area – Exposure to sunlight is extremely damaging to wine. The sun’s UV rays cause the wine to age prematurely(just like our skin). Storing wine in a dark area is vital to retaining the freshness and brightness of the wine.
Tip #3 – Store wine sideways – Lay down your bottles horizontally. This will allow the liquid in the bottle to remain in contact with the cork and keep the cork moist. This prevents the cork from drying and keeps the cork sealed tight to prevent air from entering the bottle.
Best Temperatures to Serve Wine
Like most beverages, serving wine at the ideal temperature can greatly enhance the enjoyment and the experience. Think of a cup of coffee, the flavor profile of coffee(iced/hot) changes significantly depending on the temperature it is served. Most wine connoisseurs generally don’t like their white wines to be too cold or red wines to be too hot. It is important to be just as diligent about the temperatures you serve your wine, as you were about storing your wines.
When red wines are served too warm, they can appear unbalanced and the alcohol may be very pronounced. White wines served too warm tastes flabby and dull. Conversely, when red wines are served too cold, the tannins come across really harsh and acidic. While white wines served too cold, lose their bouquet and flavor profile. Getting the right temperature is the key to enjoying a memorable glass of wine.
Sparkling Wines – A crisp glass of sparkling wine is best enjoyed at 42º-50ºF.
White Wines – White wines should be served slightly warmer than a glass of sparkling wine, ideally between 50º – 55ºF.
Red Wines – Many believe that red wine should be served at room temperature when in reality they are best enjoyed when slightly chilled. Serve red wine between 60º-70º degrees.
One of the beauties of drinking wine is there are no real rules. Personal tastes and preferences are ultimately what counts. So be adventurous and experiment with what temperatures are ideal for you.