Modern science, when applied to the millennia old art of wine making, has let the great vineyards of the world produce many vintages which to not need to age in their bottles for extended periods before reaching the peaks of flavor and aroma. But the question remains of how to store other vintages for which the journey to perfection will take more time.
A wine cellar is the perfect answer for those who have both the space and the money to indulge in one. For the rest of us, though, something more modest will have to do, and any wine storage which is to succeed will have to be done at the proper wine storage temperature.
Finding the correct wine storage temperature is not really mystery; warm is bad; cool is good. Heat will cause wine to deteriorate just as it causes fresh fruits, vegetable, meats, and dairy products to deteriorate. On the other hand, going to far in the chilly direction can also be dangerous; frozen wine, unlike frozen grape juice, does not a Popsicle make. Frozen wine, in fact, loses forever its aroma and taste.
Color Coded Temperatures
One of the factors which should influence your choice of wine storage temperatures is the color of the liquid in the wine bottle. Is it white, or red, or something in between? Once a bottle of wine has been fetched from wherever you keep it during its long nap, you want it at the optimum serving temperature before you drink it.
Red wines should not be served chilled; the cold will rob the wine of its ability to dazzle your palate with all the sublet tones and nuances of its flavors and aromas. A temperature of about 65F, or 18C, will show off your merlots, pinots, and burgundies to their best advantage.
White wines and blushes are to red wines what ice is to blood; they need to be thoroughly chilled before serving if they are to have any impact whatsoever. No matter their wine storage temperature where you have been keeping them, get them to 39 F, or 4C, before taking the first sip.
Enjoying The Drink
All wines, no matter their color and their wine storage temperatures, should be given a chance to breathe after they have been opened. They should be allowed at least fifteen minutes–thirty would be much better– of exposure to the air before they are poured and consumed, and they should never, ever, ever be swallowed without being allowed some intimacy with the drinker’s mouth and tongue. If you are brave enough, or drinking alone, you can even try trilling–gently gargling–the wine so that it comes into contact with every part of your mouth.