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No, Red Wine Should Not be Served at "Room Temperature"...Let Me Explain

Everyone that knows me knows that my pet peeve about wine is red wine that is served too warm. The idea of "room temperature" started hundreds (likely thousands!) of years ago, before the advent of central heating. Today, it is more appropriate to refer to "cellar temperature", which should be between 50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit. And, this is the ideal temperature at which to serve most red wines.

So, when I see a restaurant or, worse yet, a wine bar, with their by-the-glass wines sitting on a counter in a room that is likely about 75 degrees, I know that they are lacking in respect for the wine and for their customers. It's disappointing since these establishments should know better and can do better.

Think about it - do you enjoy a lukewarm cup of coffee? Do you keep your beer on the counter so you can enjoy it at a nice room temperature? No, of course not! You want hot coffee and cold beer.

It's at least as important to serve red wine at the ideal temperature of 50-60 degrees as serving other beverages at the right temperature. When you drink red wine at a warm 75-80 degrees, you will mainly taste tannins and alcohol; you will miss out on fruit flavors and other phenolic compounds that make wine so enjoyable and interesting.

So, what can you do if you are at an establishment that serves red wine too warm? If you ordered a glass, ask for a glass with ice cubes - yes, really! The bigger the ice cube, the better. Put a cube or two into your wine glass for 5-10 seconds and take it out. This is usually enough time to reduce the temperature by 10-15 degrees and you will find that glass to be much more enjoyable. And, the ice cube will have barely melted at all. Don't be shy - try it! :-)

If you ordered a bottle, by all means, ask for an ice bucket and put the bottle in for 10 minutes to start. After tipping the bottle to mix the colder wine at the bottom with the warmer, take a little taste. If it hasn't cooled sufficiently, give it 5-10 more minute in the bucket, which should do the trick.

I guarantee you will enjoy your wine more at the right temperature! Cheers!

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