Myths: Red wine at room temperature

Wine

21/04/2016

To answer this question, let's take a moment to exercise our imagination: think back several decades to the previous century, circa the late 1940s. Now leave the city and head into the country to a farmhouse or a castle, if you're into luxury.

Back then, we didn't have central heating or air conditioning. Houses were very cold, and the brick or stone fireplaces only heated shared living spaces like the dining or living room.

Wine was stored in the cellar, which was usually underground where the temperature stayed at 12 to 14 degrees Celsius. This was the perfect cellaring temperature, because it preserved the wine and allowed it to mature slowly.

Here the most potent wines with aggressive tannins gradually grew tamer. The acidity softened, the tannins got smoother. People saved these cellar-worthy wines for special occasions, and drank young wines in their day-to-day life. These were lighter, fruitier wines.

The tannins that cause the astringent sensation on your tongue can also add bitter notes, which are accentuated by the cold. In addition, aromas are very muted at cellar temperature, and the wine lacks expressiveness on the nose.

This is why, after bringing the wine up from the cellar, people would let it warm up to the temperature of the room, which in the days prior to central heating was usually at a comfortable 18 or 19 degrees.

This is the perfect serving temperature for aged red wines, because the tannins are not bitter, and the aromas are exquisitely distinct.

Nowadays, our houses are overheated, and what we generally consider a “comfortable” room temperature is usually around 22 degrees Celsius or more. At this temperature, we perceive the wine's most volatile element—the alcohol—first, which can quickly lead to an imbalance.

The wine will seem heavy, and we won't feel like having another glass. The moment we perceive a wine as lacking balance, our enjoyment of it won't be the same.

These days, experts recommend that red wines be put in the fridge for 15 to 20 minutes prior to serving. Doing so might mean we serve the first glass at 16 degrees, which makes it easy to drink, but we can be sure the second glass will be at the ideal temperature.

Keep in mind that this recommended temperature applies to medium or full-bodied wines, which have undergone significant barrel and bottle aging. Our wines Vinya La Scala Cabernet Sauvignon Gran Reserva, Vinya Le Havre Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva and Vinya Palau Merlot, for example, are best enjoyed at this temperature.

Young wines with little oak aging can be served at a slightly cooler temperature. You can serve our 3055 Merlot Petit Verdot at 16 degrees Celsius, for example, and it will go beautifully with some good tuna, cod, even chicken.

Categorías: Wine