Wednesday, July 06, 2011

The correct temperature?

I very rarely eat grapes, probably because we making a living out of growing them. (I guess it's like the people who work in chocolate factories that eventually give up eating chocolate).

The other day, for some unknown reason, I bought a few grapes and popped them in the bottom of my fridge. When I tasted them later I remember thinking to myself that they were a bit acid - I left the remainder of the bunch on my kitchen counter. A little later I picked at a few more, but this time they tasted somewhat sweeter and generally more flavourful. One simple but important difference - they were warmer!

Of course this one of the fundamentals of wine tasting too - how your perception of wine is altered by the temperature at which you drink it.

Obviously I'm not suggesting that you should drink your albari├▒o warm (albeit that this is the best way to expose many potential faults), but conversely, if you drink it too cold, not only will it exaggerate the acidity, but will also help to mask the true character of your wine.

If you find yourself being offered a tooth-shatteringly cold white wine in a restaurant, then cup the bowl of the glass in your two hands, and gently swirl it around until the temperature recovers a little - then, and only then, should you taste and pass your judgement.

Most red wine is served at 'room temperature', which to be honest is a little vague. So if your room is a little too warm, your red wine might also be adversely affected. An over heated bottle will throw all the alcohol to the forefront, perhaps giving your glass a bit of alcoholic 'burn' - not literally, but just a sensation of heat in the back of your throat. This, quite naturally, is more exaggerated in heavy, alcoholic red wines, and is quite easily remedied by chilling the bottle just a little - but not too much!
If you chill a red wine too much, this will simply exaggerate the tannins and could make your wine taste hard, harsh and maybe even a bit metallic.

As you will gather, temperature can make a bit difference to your enjoyment of any wine.

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