Should Moscato Be Chilled? And Other Wine Temperature Questions, Answered

Should Moscato Be Chilled? And Other Wine Temperature Questions, Answered

When it comes to serving and enjoying wine at its optimal taste, the temperature in which the wine is to be served is one of the simplest and yet one of the most important steps you can take. But a lot of people miss this very common rule, and there are a lot of people who actually miss out on optimal flavors and qualities in great wine, just because the wine was opened and served either too warm or too cold. To answer some of these wine temperature questions, let’s first take a look at the very basics of serving, pouring, tasting and enjoying a glass of wine.

 

Why chill wine?

Much like storing your wine, keeping your wine at a constant, cool temperature will help to bring out and enhance the wine’s unique flavors and aromas, when opened. But it is very important that your wine is served at the right temperature! It is a common misconception that red wine should always be served at room temperature – this idea is actually misunderstood. When wine was first created, it was stored in underground cellars, which are always slightly cooler than room temperature. But, that being said, when a wine is served too cold, you are going to miss out on all those important flavors and aromas, because they have been too muted by the cool temperature.

 

What does chilling actually do to the wine?

As the temperatures rise from a pour of chilled wine into a glass, the character of wine will develop into its full potential, where the taster will be able to enjoy the full spectrum of aromas and flavors. When the wine is chilled, the optimal flavors and aromas of the wine are put into a dormant state, which slows down the aging and oxygenating process in the bottle.

 

 What temperature should I serve my wine at?

It depends. Whether your wine is a sparkly French Champagne or a lush and bold California Cabernet Sauvignon, the optimal serving temperature varies by a few factors, including the color of the wine, the body or texture of the wine, and more. Here are a few quick guides:

 

Full Body Reds: Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Chianti, Sangiovese, Shiraz, Zinfandel, Merlot

Full-bodied reds should be stored at below 65 degrees Fahrenheit, but no lower than 45 degrees. The optimum temperature for storing full-bodied reds is between 60 – 65 degrees F. When serving a glass of full-bodied red wine, it should be served on the cool side. This is contrary to the popular belief that red wine should be served at room temperature. Think about it! As we said above, when wine was first created, it was stored in underground cellars and brought up to serve at slightly cooler than room temperature. So when you are drinking a glass of red wine with your dinner, be sure to pop it into the fridge for anywhere from 15 – 20 minutes while you’re cooking.

 

Full Body Whites: Chardonnay, Semillon, Chenin Blanc, White Bordeaux, White Rioja 

Store and serve full-bodied white wines cold, ideally around 45 degrees Fahrenheit. When serving cold white wine such as these and light-bodied white wines, be sure to serve it in a glass with a stem. The glass should be held by the stem, so as not to let the hands warm up the wine, if they are holding the glass by the bowl. Storing full-bodied white wines in the refrigerator right up until the moment of serving is perfectly acceptable – in fact, once you have poured, you should really stick a wine stopper in the bottle and put the wine back into the refrigerator, if you can. If you are unable to do this, an ice bucket is another great alternative.

 

Light Body Reds: Pinot Noir, Cinsault, Gamay, Grenache, Nebbiolo, Zweigelt, Lambrusco, Some Rosé

Served at a slightly cooler temperature than red wines with medium or full bodies, light bodied reds like the ever popular Pinot Noir optimally should be stored around 55 degrees Fahrenheit and served cool. So if you choose to store a light bodied red wine in your fridge (which is acceptable, but you should probably store it in the door so it doesn’t get packed into the cold, say in the back of the fridge or the crisper drawers – storing in the door gives it a rush of warmer air every time the door is opened), be sure to take it out of your fridge about 30 minutes before you open it.

 

Light Body Whites: Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Vinho Verde, Pinot Gris, Albariño, Grüner Veltliner, Some Rosé, Moscato, Pink Moscato

Serve light-bodied white wines cold, and store them in the refrigerator or in your basement, if you live in a colder climate. Served cold in a glass with a stem, light bodied white wines should form a nice fog of condensation on the glass when they are poured. And much to the chagrin of wine snobs around the world, an ice cube or two in a glass of very light-bodied white wine never hurt anyone – try it in the summertime, it’ll change your life! An ice bucket is optimal for an opened bottle of light bodied white wine, but if you don’t have one available, pop a wine stopper in and put it back in the fridge until you’re ready for the next glass.

 

Sparkling Wines: Brut Champagne, Brut Rosé, Sparkling Wine (USA), Cava (Spain), Prosecco (Italy), Moscato D’Asti

Sparkling wines such as Champagne and Cava should be stored and served at the coldest possible temperature, definitely the coldest of the bunch. 42 degrees Fahrenheit is a perfect temperature to store Champagne and sparkling wine. In other words, keep it in your fridge at all times! This is another wine that does best with an ice bucket after the wine bottle has been opened, as well.

 

 

We at WineBaskets.com hope that you find these wine tutorials helpful and informative, and most of all, we hope that your next bottle of wine is the best you’ve ever had. Find a fantastic wine library, wine accessories and enjoy sitewide free shipping always, at WineBaskets.com. 

Wine Wednesday: Dominus Estate 2013

Wine Wednesday: Dominus Estate 2013

Welcome to Wine Wednesday! What better way to get over the hump of a busy work week! Let’s explore and learn about a great wine! From Chardonnay sipped on a casual evening to a rare Cabernet for special occasions, each week we feature a wine available in our gifts. We’ll speak to the history of the makers behind the bottle, and we’ll tell you all about the flavors to be had inside.

 

This Week’s #WineWednesday – 2013 Dominus Estate

Rating: 

100 Points by The Wine Advocate, Vinous and James Suckling

 

About This Wine: 

The 2013 Dominus is one of the most profound wines Christian Moueix has yet made in his rather brilliant winemaking history, both in France and in Napa Valley. This wine, with very low yields of only 3,500 cases, offers up notes of cedar wood, forest floor, loamy soil and blackberry and blackcurrant fruit. Very opaque purple in color, super-pure and intense, this wine has low acidity, but ripe, noticeable tannins. This is a 30- to 40-year wine and a profound effort from this famous vineyard in Yountville.

 

Tasting Notes: 

The aromas to this are multidimensional and fascinating with black truffles, bark, cloves, black currants and citrus – even ginseng. Full-bodied, yet reserved, even austere, with chewy and powerful tannins that remain polished and refined. The flavors are more umami and savory. Then there’s forest fruits and red orange undertones. It lasts for minutes. A wine to age for a lifetime. It’s an experience to taste this. A new classic showing its history and tradition as a source of the greatest wines ever from Napa.

 

Blend:  89% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Petit Verdot, and 4% Cabernet Franc.

 

Cellar Suggestions: 

Given proper cellaring, this wine will provide drinking pleasure through 2060.

 

 

 

 

Comment Below:

Have you had a chance to taste the 2013 Dominus Estate, or another Dominus vintage? If so, what did you think? Let us know in the comments below. If not, tell us about your favorite Pinot Noir and why you enjoy it!

 

What Wine Goes With Dinner Tonight?

What Wine Goes With Dinner Tonight?

Knowing how to pair your wine with the food that you’re eating may seem like a confusing and daunting task, but there are just a few tricks you need to learn, and pretty soon you will be pairing like a pro. If you are wondering what wine goes with dinner tonight, follow these simple steps! This blog, entitled Six Rules for Perfect Pairing, goes into much more details, but it really can boil down to six very easy to remember rules.

Whether you’re enjoying a few steaks or chicken off the grill on a balmy summer evening, you’re serving up a hot stew that’s been roasting in the slow cooker all winter’s day, or you’re just ordering pizza from the neighborhood parlor, the simple and easy to follow wine guides below will help you know which wine is going to bring out the flavors of your food best, and which foods are going to complement your wine in turn.

First Thing’s First: Learn Basic Wine Pairing!

 

Read More in Depth Here >> The Six Rules of Perfect Wine Pairing

 

Rule 1: Match the richness of the food to the body of the wine.

Rule 2: Match the acidity.

Rule 3: Don’t let the food overpower the wine, or the wine overpower the food.

Rule 4: Offset heat (spicy) with sweet.

Rule 5: Serve your wine at the right temperature.

Rule 6: Match the regional cuisine to the regional wine.

 

You’re Ready To Pair!

Here’s a helpful list of recommendations and suggestions to get you started. Here at WineBaskets.com, we got together with our in-house Sommelier Christine to get her recommendations on wine pairing by cuisine. 

 

Which Wine Goes With Dinner Tonight? 

 

Chinese Cuisine

Few simple pleasures in life are as comforting as Chinese take-out. And when it comes to wine pairing, here is an opportunity to really knock it out of the park. Chinese food varies a lot between meat or no meat, spicy or mild, fatty or light. Remember the rule above – pair heavy with heavy, light with light. So if you are having a dish that is on the heavier side, such as broccoli beef or sesame chicken, opt for a richer, fuller-bodied wine such as Malbec or Cabernet Sauvignon. For lighter, mild dishes, say, vegetable lo mein or shrimp fried rice, try a light-bodied white. Since these dishes aren’t spicy, it can be on the dry side!

For Heavier Chinese Dishes, ex. Moo Shu Pork, Broccoli Beef:

For Lighter Chinese Dishes, ex. Mushroom Chicken, Shrimp Fried Rice:

Walnut Shrimp? Try a medium-bodied Pinot Noir.

 

Indian Cuisine 

Anyone who has ever eaten (or simply smelled) Indian food knows that the dishes are full of flavor! When you are eating Indian food, the most important rule of thumb is to match the wine to the sauce, not the meat (or main ingredient, if you’re eating vegetarian, ie. paneer, potatoes). For example, Tikka Masala’s main ingredient of the sauce is tomatoes, which makes it highly acidic, while Korma’s sauce is creamy and rich, made of cashew powder and heavy cream. The sauce (and Indian food is all about the sauce) determines the wine that you should drink. Another aspect that factors into wine pairing with Indian food is the spice-heat. Commonly, many Indian dishes have some level of spiciness, or at least are made up of a lot of intense spices. Overall, a wine that is on the sweeter side is going to complement the Indian heat better than a dry wine.

We suggest:

  • Riesling (especially German)
  • American Rosé / White Zinfandel
  • Moscato
  • Gamay (better known as Beaujolais, a light-bodied red)
  • Grenache (another light-bodied red)

 

Italian / Italian-American Cuisine (and Pizza, too!)

This is one of those cuisines where the sixth rule above really works great. Match Italian wines to your Italian food and you can hardly go wrong, especially if you can match the wine region. Many Italian dishes are tomato-based sauces, so pairing them with wine that is also high in acidity will do the trick (see Rule # 2 above). Again, this is one of those meals where you would match the wine to the sauce before you look at any of the secondary ingredients. A perfect example is chicken parmigiana – yes it is chicken, but you would never want to serve a light sweet white wine, because the chicken is coated in tomato sauce. Match the wine to the sauce!

For tomato-based Italian food, ex. spaghetti, lasagna, red sauce pizza:  

 

For less acidic Italian fare, ex. fettucine alfredo, caccio e pepe, mushroom risotto:

  • Full-Bodied White Wines
  • Light-Bodied Red Wines
  • Pinot Grigio
  • Rosso di Montalcino
  • Some Chardonnay

 

 

Mexican Food

Mexican food can be a little bit tricky to pair, but it is safe to say that you can follow the first five main rules above pretty well here, along with pairing latin American wines for that hot-climate flavor. For starters, a lot of Mexican food has a fair amount of spice to it, say for example pollo verde (green salsa chicken) or enchiladas. This is one of those cuisines where you do want to stick to the common rule of white meat, white wine, however, not necessarily red meat, red wine! Confused yet? Wine Folly has a ton of excellent suggestions for different Mexican dishes to pair with wine!

We Suggest:

 

American Cuisine

Because of our great melting pot of a country, American food is steeped in influences from all over the world, especially France and Germany. While the general pairing rules usually stick – white meat, white wine / red meat, red wine, the first five rules above are equally as important. And as for the sixth rule of region-matching, you can follow that pretty well by looking at the influence of the dish, too! Here’s a really easy chart to follow – click on the image to enlarge and print it out for yourself!

 

 

Even More Helpful Wine Advice from the Experts at Uncorked

How to Properly Store Wine

How to Use a Decanter

Which Glass Is Right For My Wine? 

Wine Wednesday: Silver Oak Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Wine Wednesday: Silver Oak Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Welcome to Wine Wednesday! What better way to get over the hump of a busy work week! Let’s explore and learn about a great wine! From Chardonnay sipped on a casual evening to a rare Cabernet for special occasions, each week we feature a wine available in our gifts. We’ll speak to the history of the makers behind the bottle, and we’ll tell you all about the flavors to be had inside.

 

This Week’s #WineWednesday – 2013 Silver Oak Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

 

About This Wine: 

Silver Oak’s production began over a handshake between two friends – Raymond Twomey Duncan, a Colorado entrepreneur who invested in California vineyards, and a winemaker named Justin Meyer. The duo had a bold vision: to focus only on the Cabernet Sauvignon varietal, age it exclusively in American oak barrels, and make it cellar-worthy for decades to come. They converted an old dairy barn into a winery in Napa Valley and produced their first vintage of only 1,100 cases in 1972.

Over the next three decades, Silver Oak’s popularity skyrocketed as it consistently collected rave reviews. Their Alexander Valley and Napa Valley cabernets sold as quickly as they were released from the winery and became quite a hot commodity on restaurant wine lists across the US. Eventually, Justin Meyer retired and sold his stake in the winery to the Duncan family, who owns and operates Silver Oak to this day.

In 2006, a sweeping fire destroyed the historic winery in Oakville, Napa Valley. It was an emotional, difficult time for the entire Silver Oak family, but they were determined to rebuild, and the sense of loss was soon replaced with the excitement of an innovative new state-of-the-art winery. Today, Silver Oak grows on over 400 acres in Napa and Alexander Valleys. In 2015, Silver Oak became the first North American winery to own and operate an American oak cooperage (a cooperage is a barrel factory), giving them full control over the quality of their aging barrels.

 

Tasting Notes: 

The 2013 Silver Oak Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, with the potential to be the winery’s best ever, is seamless, rewarding, and a standout. At first sniff, this wine shows black fruit and cedar notes. With aeration, its aromatics blossom and springs forth with a delightful array of savory spices. Invite a few wine friends and pair this wine with a thick, rare slice of prime rib and enjoy the wine and food synergy.

 

Blend: 

79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot.

 

Cellar Suggestions: 

Given proper cellaring, this wine will provide drinking pleasure through 2038.

 

Comment Below:

Have you had a chance to taste Silver Oak Napa Cabernet? If so, what did you think? Let us know in the comments below. If not, tell us about your favorite Pinot Noir and why you enjoy it!

 

How to Properly Store Your Wine

How to Properly Store Your Wine

One of the most common questions we get asked at WineBaskets.com is how you should store your wine, both before you have opened it, and after you have opened it. To help answer these common and confusing questions – we’ve created a simple guide to help you, as a wine lover, can get the most life and the best results out of your wine. Plus, you will look like the genius with all the answers to questions about wine at the next dinner party or wine tasting you go to! Let’s dive in and find out how to properly store your wine, and how to store your wine once it has been opened.

 

Storing Wine Before It Has Been Opened

 

 

Tip #1: The most important thing to remember about storing wine before you are ready to open it is this:
CONSTANT, COOL TEMPERATURE.

Heat is enemy number one for all wine! Keeping your wine (and this goes for both red and white wines, as well as sparkling wine and Champagne, Port, and everything in between) at a constant cool temperature is the most important aspect of keeping your wine in a drinkable state. Whether or not it is a wine that ages well, such as a Cabernet Sauvignon or should be enjoyed while it is still young, such as a Pinot Grigio, the outer temperature surrounding the bottle is of utmost, crucial importance. High temperatures, for example, above 70 degrees Fahrenheit, or rises and dips in temperature will change the chemical make up of the wine. It will age a wine quicker than is natural for the bottle, collapsing the aromas, the flavors and the all-important texture of the wine. Have you ever heard someone say “this wine is cooked”? That is the result of wine being stored in too high of a temperature.

Keep your wine between 45 to a maximum of 65 degrees F. A basement is the ideal place to store unopened wine, because of the cool temperature and the lack of sunlight (we will get to that in a minute). Don’t go below 45 degrees (like storing wine in the refrigerator) for a few reasons – the cork can dry out and allow more air to seep into the wine, or the wine could start to freeze and expand, breaking the bottle or the cork. If you do not have a basement, store your wine in a place that is dark and cool, such as the floor of your kitchen pantry. Heat rises, so putting your wine bottles close to the ground and in a dark place is a good idea.

One of the things we have been noticing is that there is a trend of new homes having a wine rack built in above the refrigerator. This is the worst place to store your wine! All the heat from the back of the refrigerator is going to destroy that wine. So if you live in a home with a built in rack above the fridge, by all means necessary, move that wine out of there and into a cool place with a constant temperature.

And avoid big temperature swings! Minor fluctuations are pretty much unavoidable, but big swings in temperature, say 10 degrees or more at a time, the liquid inside the wine bottle will expand and contract, which will also have a terrible effect on the quality of the wine.

 

Tip #2: The second most important thing to remember about storing wine before you are ready to open it:
AVOID SUNLIGHT. 

All light can be potentially bad for wine storage, but natural light (think from the SUN, aka UV light) is especially dangerous for wine storage. This is because the UV (ultraviolet) rays from the sun can also prematurely age wine. This is one of the main reasons why many winemakers use colored glass for wine bottles! Think of it like a little pair of sunglasses for your wine! If natural light is something you can avoid, please do.

Florescent light bulbs also emit small amounts of UV rays, so if you are storing your wine in the basement or in another cool place, consider changing out the florescent tube bulbs for incandescent lights. If this is not going to be possible for you, just try not to keep the lights on for too long of stretches of time.

 

Tip #3: The third most important thing you can do when storing unopened wine:
KEEP THE BOTTLE ON ITS SIDE.

Wine bottles with corks should always be stored on their sides. Why? Because this keeps some liquid touching the cork so that it will not dry out! Even if your bottles are mostly screw caps (which is quite popular these days and there is nothing wrong with a screw cap!) we still recommend keeping wine stored on its side, as it is the most efficient way and will not hurt any bottle.

 

 

Storing Wine After It Has Been Opened

Once your wine – be it red wine, white wine, sparkling wine or a dessert wine – has been opened, you really only have a few days to consume the rest of it. And since oxygen turns wine into vinegar, there are a few things you can do to slow down that process and still enjoy the wine that you could not polish off.

1. The same rules apply to opened wine as they do to unopened: constant cool temperature and avoid light. Keep the wine in the refrigerator – yes, even red wine!

 

2. Put the cork back in the bottle, and your wine will last 3 – 5 days in the refrigerator. However, you can make it last even longer with a few other tools, such as an inert gas perserver (this replaces the oxygen that has gotten into the bottle with argon, which is heavier than oxygen and keeps the wine from oxidizing) or a vaccum pump, which removes all the oxygen from the bottle. You can find both of these tools in Wine Enthusiast’s online shop.

 

3. Get a Champagne stopper. This is one of the best accessories you can have for preserving your sparkling wines. Wine Folly’s Italian-made Champagne stopper is the best on the market.

 

4. Store all opened wines upright! This will minimize the amount of oxygen in the bottle.

 

 

We hope this has been helpful in your process of learning how to properly store wine, before and after opening!

Check back on Uncorked soon for even more helpful wine tutorials.