Expert Says You Should Chill Red Wine Before Serving

Defying conventional wisdom, a wine industry expert has recently argued that you should chill red wines before you serve them.

Traditional wisdom

Wine is an incredibly complex drink, boasting a delicate balance of unique flavours. The way you serve your wine can drastically alter how the vintage tastes. You need to consider everything from the shape of the glass to your pouring technique when serving wine!

It is key that you serve wine at the correct temperature. This way, the vintage will receive just the right amount of heat or cold needed to bring out its best characters. Take the Antinori Tignanello Toscana IGT 1990, a wonderful Italian red, from the Ideal Wine Company. Because it is a red wine, traditional wisdom would dictate that you serve it at room temperature, as this is supposed to bring out the best characteristics of this fine vintage.

Industry expert’s opinion

But an industry expert recently advised wine drinkers to defy this conventional wisdom. Newspaper The Evening Standard reports that Jancis Robinson, who is the editor of The Oxford Companion to Wine, has said that red wine should be served chilled instead of at room temperature.

Robinson added that people do not realise that not only should light red wines e.g. Pinot Noirs, be served cool, but all red wines should be chilled if the bottle has already been opened. Explaining her argument further, Robinson said: “Put any open bottle in the fridge. Even red wine. Low temperatures slow down chemical reactions including oxidation, which is the enemy of an open bottle.”

Also white wines should not be served when they are too cold, according to Robinson. Commenting on this theory further, the wine expert said: “It is nice to have champagne very cold, or a light-bodied Riesling. But once you get a full-bodied, oaked white, like a mature white burgundy, you really want it at the same temperature as a light-bodied red.”

Personal preferences

Robinson makes a valid point. Low temperatures are known to slow down oxidisation. If wine is exposed to oxidisation its chemical composition will change, which could alter the way it tastes and not for the better! But that doesn’t mean that you automatically have to follow her advice.

The main thing is that you enjoy the wine, so if you personally think that red wine tastes better at room temperature, you should serve it at room temperature. If you choose to do this with an open bottle though, keep Robinson’s advice in mind. Be careful about how long you store the opened bottle, so that you don’t drink the vintage after it’s been exposed to damaging processes such as oxidisation!