Winemaking. Life. The Dirt. Alison Crowe is a Winemaker Based in Napa.

Wine Myths: Always Serve Reds at Room Temperature….one more wine myth to kick to the curb this summer

back deck instagramIn the haze of summer heat, reds are much more refreshing with a slight chill

Though especially welcome in summertime, and especially tasty with regards to Pinot Noir, I break this “rule” year round and with many varietals to boot.  In the depths of December you can still find me putting a slight chill on many reds, from a sassy Beaujolais Nouveau with at Thanksgiving up to some big and burly Syrah’s on Valentine’s Day.   I just like my reds served a little cool and find that I prefer around 50-58 F or so, far below “room temperature”.

Summertime, however, is when I’m most likely to put a red on ice.  “Room temp” in our 1898 Victorian house in Napa doesn’t mean 68F like it does in November and as ambient temperatures rise, my tolerance for the more volatile components in red wines

Sunny Napa

Summertime heat! When the temp in Napa goes up, we chill the wine down.

(i.e. alcohol, aldehydes, and volatile acidity) goes down. I find it hard to appreciate a red wine when it’s so warm even its modest 13.80% alcohol hits me like a ton of grapes.

Solution?  Use a tabletop wine cooler, an ice bucket, one of those new stick-it-in-the-bottle gadgets like the corkcicle™ or just simply stick the bottle in the fridge for 30 minutes.  A slight chill can focus aroma, tame the perception of alcohol and can make a red seem more refreshing, especially when the weather heats up.

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  • Mark Buckley

    Great article Alison. I like mine on the cooler side as well. Around 58-62 F. Although summertime I”m usually drinking mostly whites and Bubbles. The occasional Pinot.

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      Thanks for the feedback! Spell-check is in effect. Reader warning: I do certainly use slang, “conversational” terminology and technical wine terms so feel free to get in touch regarding anything that bothers you or that isn’t familiar!

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