In the 1980s, McDonald's introduced some new styrofoam packaging for its burgers with the rather chipper slogan, "The hot stays hot and the cool stays cool!" This catch phrase is not a bad rule of thumb for what temperatures to keep red and white wines. The trick, however, is knowing exactly how hot and how cool wines should be.
One MSNBC.com editor recently explained the ideal temperature ranges for reds and whites.
Under the headline, "The PerfectTemperature For Wine: Bottles Don't Come With Instructions For Serving. How Warm or Cold Should Your Wine Be?, " MSNBC.com Lifestyle Editor Jon Bonné writes:
"Temperature is a matter of endless discussion, but it's safe to say that most Americans serve their red wine too warm, and often their white wine too cold."
"Syrahs need a bit of warmth to express their terrific gamy, peppery aromatics. The ideal temperature should be somewhere around 65 degrees Fahrenheit, just shy of room temperature."
"Now, red wines should be stored around 55 degrees, if you can manage it. (A portable wine fridge, or well-insulated basement, can suffice.) So you'll want to give your syrah an hour or two at room temperature to warm up a bit. Warmer than room temperature and you'll probably start smelling more alcohol in the wine; too much cooler and the wine will taste dull."
"What you don't want is to store your wine at room temperature or warmer for an extended period of time. At the very least, it will speed the aging of the wine, but more likely you'll end up "cooking" the bottle, robbing the wine of its aromas and flavors."
"Every wine will have its own optimal serving temperature. But let's establish a few approximate rules of thumb. Note that the typical refrigerator temperature, in the high 30s or low 40s, is too cold for most white wine. If you chill your wine in the fridge, take it out beforehand:"
* Tart, bright white wines: 48-52 degrees
* Sparkling wine: 50-55 degrees
* Rich white wines, like an aged chardonnay: 58-62 degrees
* Light red wines (Chianti, Beaujolais, young pinot noir): 60-65 degrees
* Heavy red wines: 63-68 degrees
"The perfect temperature for any given wine will depend on how much fruit, tannin and alcohol it contains. No surprise that temperature remains a topic of debate among wine types."
"It's a safe bet, though, that you should never serve (or store) a wine above 70 degrees."
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