Keeping Things Cool

I always have a slight chuckle when articles about wine get extra particular about serving temperature of wine. Don’t get me wrong, it can be important and can make or break your enjoyment of what’s in your glass, but my smirk generally begins to perk up once any mention is made of pulling a wine from your cellar. I mean, really, how many of us have a traditional wine cellar that’s, you know, an actual place. Well, I guess if a couple tattered cardboard wine boxes shoved in the corner of a closet can be considered a wine cellar then, sure, I guess I do have a wine cellar. Hardly an enchanting trip down some stairs into a cool, dimly lit cave.

So let’s get real. When you pull your wine from the fridge, counter or the paper or plastic bag you received when you bought it twenty minutes ago, there are some things you can do to ensure your wine’s at a temperature that’ll have it showing well. And no, I’m not gonna even get into ideal serving temperature for an aromatic white being five to 10 degrees Celsius, light reds being 10 to 15 and so on, since those numbers are generally irrelevant unless you’re pulling from a climate-controlled wine fridge.

So. Starting at the wines you want to serve at the coolest temperature, sparkling wines will always be good-to-go straight from your fridge. Something like Summerhill ‘Cipes’ Brut will keep its bubbles to a fine mousse, while its apple, pear and nutty notes will be on-point through its lovely, dry finish. Do keep it cold while serving. A bucket of ice is good for chilling wine, throwing in a little cold water is even better, while adding a small handful of salt is best. The salt method is also best when you want to chill a room-temperature white in a jiffy; there’s actual science behind it, I promise.

Now, for any crisp, aromatic white, yes—you do want these to be quite cold, but having it come up a couple degrees from fridge temperature will show flavours even better. Taking your 13th Street Vineyard Riesling out of the fridge five to 10 minutes before serving will let all of its stone fruit and citrus notes shine.

Looking at a bigger white? Perhaps CedarCreek ‘Block 5’ Platinum Chardonnay? Maybe pull something like that 10 to 15 minutes beforehand; the wine will show much more character and its well-integrated oak will hit the spot.

Keep that 10 to 15 minute stretch in mind for light reds, but that’s how long before serving you’ll want to put your, say, Meyer Family Vineyards Pinot Noir into the fridge for; it’ll keep all of that plummy fruit bright and cheery. Generally, room temperature can be a little too warm for reds, which may make the alcohol content a little more noticeable and enhance any bitter notes. Even a big, bold red like Road 13’s Fifth Element would do well with a good 10 minutes in the fridge before you pour.

It’s summertime after all, and always best to keep things cool.

Kurtis Kolt is a Vancouver-based wine consultant, writer, competition judge and enthusiast. He’s not half as fancy/boring as that sounds. He Tweets and Instagrams @KurtisKolt.

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