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How To Serve Red Wine: Temperature, Aeration, Serving Size

By Edited Jan 19, 2014 0 0

How To Serve Red Wine:

Temperature, Aeration, Size

How To Serve Red Wine: red wine serving temperature

There are few drinks that are quite as classy as red wine. Perfect for parties, dinners and formal occasions, this drink is loved around the world. But unless you're a sommelier or a true wine afficionado, it's also really intimidating!

Serving red wine is a tricky business, especially if you're doing so in the presence of wine experts. Red wine serving temperature, for example, is a tricky thing, and it's not always served at room temperature. There are tricks and techniques to learn how best to serve red wine, and that's what this article is all about.

We will talk about the best temperature for red wine to be served at, and how this can affect proper enjoyment of a good red. We'll talk about the way in which you serve your wine to your guests, namely how you aerate a wine and let it breathe properly. We'll also mention the proper red wine serving size and the glasses you should be using.

Let's begin!

Red Wine Serving Temperature:

Best Temperature for Red Wine

How To Serve Red Wine: red wine serving temperature(72154)

Just about everyone knows the basics: white and rose wines should be served chilled, while red wines should always be served at room temperature, right? Unfortunately this is not always right, and it varies depending on the type of wine you are dealing with. 

The best way to look at red wine serving temperature is this: at room temperature or warmer, you'll notice the alcoholic taste in the drink far more than you would when cooler. It's usually undesirable for a red wine (or any wine for that matter) to taste overly alcoholic; this tends to imply the drink is cheaply made. 

The best bet when looking at red wine serving temperature is to keep them slightly chilled. This doesn't mean refrigeration, but slightly cooled. This can be achieved best either by placing the bottle in a fridge just before serving (though this can be inaccurate), or by keeping it stored in a cool location full time, such as a wine cellar or cold room.

To ensure the best temperature for red wine serving, you can purchase a wine fridge, which keep contents at very specific temperatures. These are generally not cheap, but they're not a bad idea if you have some more expensive varieties: wines keep better when stored at a constant temperature. 

The best red wine serving temperature is between 50-65 °F (10-18 °C), but that's quite a range. The best temperature for red wine is slightly cool but not cold. If it's warm, it's not ready to be served. 

A storage tip: try to keep your wines out of direct light, as long term exposure to light can lessen their quality.

Red Wine Aeration:

How To Serve Red Wine

The second thing to remember when learning how to serve red wine is to remember that aeration is very important. You can learn more specifically about wine aerators and decanters in this article, but the basic premise is that red wine aroma is better experienced when it has had time to bond with oxygen before consumption. This means that you should allow a bit of time for a red wine to 'breathe' before you serve it.

Red wine aeration is important when learning how to serve red wine because it serves a dual purpose: it allows you to show off your wine knowledge and show off your choice for the evening in a better serving container, and it ensures that your red will taste its best. 

Aeration is achieved best by making sure oxygen works its way into the liquid fully. You can achieve this by using a wine decanter or a wine aerator. Both of these devices are explained better in the linked article above, but they basically ensure that as the wine is poured, a small proportion of air is mixed in too. 

The simplest way to achieve red wine aeration is to simply let the drink sit, uncorked, for a length of time, usually 2o minutes or so. This effect should improve the taste somewhat, regardless of the wine. 

Vinturi Essential Wine Aerator
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Red Wine Serving Size:

How To Serve Red Wine

How To Serve Red Wine: Red Wine Serving Size

Another thing to take into consideration is the size of your serving and the method by which you serve it. First off, make sure you have the proper glasses. Wine wine glasses are smaller and more slender, and are designed to show off the bouquet of an entirely different variety. A red will be lost in the wrong glass, so at the very least make sure you have specific glasses for reds and whites. 

The shape of a wine glass is designed to best allow the taste and bouquet to be appreciated. However, this can be lost if you over pour. When learning how to serve red wine, you should appreciate that a red needs space in the glass. In a typical glass, you want to stop pouring just before the widest point in the 'bell'. 

Try to fill it up as much as the picture above, but not as full as the picture at the start of the article. Those glasses are too full!

Why not fill up the whole glass? Many people like to swirl a wine to release scent molecules. If the glass is poured too high, they won't be able to do this without creating a big mess! 

Another important tip in learning how to serve red wine is to remember how to hold it. Many people think that it's fine to hold a red by the bell. Remember, a red should be appreciated cool, so any hand-warmth that sneaks in there will detract from your experience. Try to hold it by the stem if you can. 

Libbey 12.5-Ounce Wine Party Glass, 12-Piece Set
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(price as of Jan 19, 2014)

Wine Pairings:

How To Serve Red Wine

Wine pairings are a tricky thing, and your local wine dealer or sommelier will be better suited to give you specific pairings for different wines. In general, however, when learning how to serve red wine it's wise to choose wines that match the fare. This means that most reds work well with more hearty, flavorful meals. 

Red meats and richer fish like snapper work well with reds, as well as rich cheeses. Many times a bottle will tell you how to serve your red wine. It's best to experiment and find out what you appreciate best with a particular blend. 

Good Luck!

Wine Bites: 64 Simple Nibbles That Pair Perfectly with Wine
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