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When it’s 96 degrees in Jersey, it’s time to reach for a refreshing drink. On the top of my list are cold beer and chilled white wine, but don’t serve these beverages at the same temperature. Most beer is best cold, while white wine should only be moderately chilled.
White wines should be served between 46 and 53 degrees. A typical refrigerator is 40 degrees, so take your wine out approximately 20 minutes before serving. The fuller- bodied the wine, the higher the serving temperature should be. For example, an oaky Chardonnay should be served closer to 53 degrees while a Pinot Grigio is best enjoyed near 46 degrees.
Why should you care about temperature? Serving at the proper temperature will allow you to get the most aromas and flavors from the wine. What’s more, if served too warm a white wine will taste alcoholic and unbalanced. When should you break these rules? When the wine doesn’t have many aromas and flavors, or when there’s something to hide. In that case chill, chill, chill.
To be certain your wine is served at the proper temperature, you can use an infrared wine thermometer, such as those made by Nuvo Vino or Vinotemp. As a general guideline, whites should not be as cold as your refrigerator or an iced-cold brew from your cooler.
Personal preference should always prevail, but think again before you throw that nice bottle of white in the ice chest this summer.
A 25-year veteran of the wine and hospitality industry, George Staikos is known for his role as an educator, sharing his passion for wine appreciation. He is the founder and president of the Educated Grape, a company specializing in interactive education programs and in-home wine entertaining for wine enthusiasts and companies. He is a professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University’s International School of Hospitality Management, where he teaches “Introduction to the Study of Wine.” He is also Vice Echanson or regional wine director for the mid-Atlantic region for the Chaine des Rotisseurs, a worldwide food-and-wine organization.
Staikos is a graduate of Florida International University in Miami with a Bachelor’s degree in Hospitality Management. He is married with three children and lives in Flemington.
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