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Snooth User: Philip James

Chilling bad wine

Posted by Philip James, May 24, 2007.

This one's pretty simple, but it's a good trick to keep up your sleeve. Quite simply, the warmer a liquid (ie. wine) is, the more volatile (ie. its smell) it is. Because the majority of taste actually comes from smell (try pinching your nose and tasting wine) a warmer wine has more taste. In fact this is such a common issue that there's an industry term for a wine served too cold - "dumb".

If you have a cheap/old or simply bad bottle of wine and want to see if its at all drinkable, try chilling it slightly if its a red (too cold and the tannins become vicious) or chilling it to a regular fridge's temperature if its a white. It might still be undrinkable, but you'll have muted the taste as much as possible and you might end up with something refreshing.

This technique works best with whites - you can get them really cold and they become very crisp and refreshing.

It's a trade off - room temperature allows you to enjoy the nuances of a wine, whereas cold wine is refreshing but the chill mutes all but the most basic of flavors.


Reply by Sung, May 24, 2007.

Nice, so between this trick and the zip lock bag trick for the corked wines, any bottle of wine should never go to waste! I like it!

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