6 More Common Wine Questions

From serving temps to defining "off-dry"


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What wines do you chill?

While the 20-minute rule of thumb for wine temperature is handy, it helps to understand why you might want to chill a wine. Many light red wines benefit from being chilled, particularly during warm weather.

When you chill a wine, you directly influence the way your mind perceives that wine in four distinct ways: the acidity, the tannin, the sugar and the aromatics.

The aromatics are present because molecules are volatizing, or evaporating, from the wine. Too hot and you’ll end up with more alcohol than aromatics; too cold and you’ll prevent anything from leaving the icy grip of the fluid; just right and you’ll witness a slow, steady, layered release of aromatic compounds.

Tannin -- the drying, sometimes bitter compound found primarily in red wines -- becomes more obvious in cooler wines, primarily since tannins are assertive and generally balanced by the fruitiness of a wine.

Acidity in a wine tends to be accentuated by chilling, again because it tends to be balanced by the fruitiness of a wine. The higher perceived acidity adds to the refreshing quality of a wine -- one reason why we chill both reds and whites.

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  • Snooth User: Mark Angelillo
    Founding Member Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    2 5,324

    Love this series, Greg. Would love to hear more about some of the words that people in the wine world throw around.

    Mar 14, 2011 at 6:02 PM

  • Off topic, I love buttery white wines, What causes the taste? And will you please name a few for us to try?


    Mar 19, 2011 at 9:49 AM

  • Snooth User: catboots
    1122776 41

    This is what I've read on this subject, and it is easy to remember--65 degrees for reds. And 55degrees for whites. If you have a basement, store your wine close to the basement floor, as a basement floor temperature generally hovers around 65 degrees. Here's another tip-If you don't want to invest in a "sometime expensive" wine thermometer, you can go on-line and purchase a bottle clip on ring thermometer, for about 2$.

    Jul 29, 2012 at 11:10 AM

  • Snooth User: catboots
    1122776 41

    Here's another tip, that will help keep your wine at the proper temperature --I picked up a 6"x6" marble stove top trivet, from a resale shop.(I think I payed about 2$ for it) I keep it in the freezer, and when I'm ready to decant my wine, I take it out of the freezer, and set my decanter on the trivet. This keeps the wine at about 64 degrees. Your whites that you remove from the fridge, will stay cool also.

    Jul 29, 2012 at 11:23 AM

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