Serving wine in the summer heat
I went to my local gastropub last night and we ordered a bottle of Dirk Niepoort’s lovely Drink Me red wine from the Douro with our meal, which was marginally oxidised.
Sending it back was no problem and the manager apologised and replaced it with another bottle of the same wine.
It was a stifling hot night and it must have been nearly 30°C in the restaurant and this fact contributed to making rather unpleasant drinking as well. He did explain to us that red wines were served at room temperature as one would normally expect and we explained to him that the conventional wisdom of room temperature was created in Victorian times, when room temperature was probably about 17°-18°.
Before opening the second bottle (which was far too warm to the touch) we enquired whether he might perhaps have a bottle in the cellar. He did come back with one that was much cooler to the touch and opening it proved to be a winner. We invited the manager to taste both bottles and he agreed that the second bottle was much better. He had only been in the job for three weeks and we hope that this little exercise will enable him to keep his customers even more happy!
Maybe a little training is necessary but I hope it doesn’t get to this stage!
The British have a tendency for drinking their red wines too warm and their white wines too cold – Chassagne Montrachet ice lollies as well as boiled Claret do not do justice to the wines. Red wine that is served too hot brings out the alcohol and makes the wine more heady. Light red wines such as Pinot Noir or Beaujolais should always be served cool and if the wine is too warm, there is no shame in putting the bottles in an ice bucket to get them down to an acceptable temperature. I’m not saying that you should go about with a thermometer when you dine out (although I do recall one restaurant critic who did) but you can have a good guess to know when the temperature is just right for the wine.