Vic­to­ria Moore ex­plains why you shouldn’t be afraid to put your red wine in the fridge

Chill­ing red wine is not as sac­ri­le­gious as it may sound

BBC Good Food - - Contents - @how_­to_­drink @plan­etvic­to­ria Vic­to­ria Moore is an award-win­ning wine colum­nist and au­thor. Her new book, The Wine Dine Dic­tio­nary (£20, Granta), is out now.

Red wine that is too warm be­comes soupy and feels shape­less – like clothes that don’t fit you

The day is hot and the wine is too warm. I ask the bar­man for some ice and plop! plop! plop! three cubes are in my drink. The day is still hot but the wine is cool enough – and my friends are star­ing at me as though I just went up to a Car­avag­gio in the Uf­fizi and de­faced it with a Sharpie be­cause the shad­ows weren’t in the right place. I see the point. Putting ice cubes in your wine isn’t the per­fect so­lu­tion – who wants to di­lute their drink? – but it’s a lot kinder to the wine than drink­ing it when it’s too warm. White or rosé wine that isn’t cold enough loses its def­i­ni­tion, as well as the in­vig­o­rat­ing fris­son you get from any chilled drink; but like­wise, red be­comes soupy and feels baggy and shape­less, like clothes that don’t fit you. Yes, red wine can be served too warm – and in sum­mer it of­ten is. We have a pe­cu­liar blind spot about this. I’ve never met any­one who couldn’t say straight away if they thought the white wine could do with half an hour in the freezer, yet it’s al­ways as­sumed that noth­ing could pos­si­bly go wrong with the red. We have the old saw about drink­ing red at ‘room tem­per­a­ture’ to thank for that. What does room tem­per­a­ture ac­tu­ally mean? It’s of­ten taken to be 20C but re­ally 16-18C is a bet­ter bet. Ei­ther way, safe to say that if you’re wear­ing a Bar­dot dress (ladies) or a T-shirt and shorts (ladies and gents) and you’re not won­der­ing where you’ve put your jumper, the red wine is prob­a­bly too hot. When I am vis­it­ing winer­ies in a warm cli­mate such as in Ar­gentina or Aus­tralia, wine­mak­ers al­ways pour the red, yes even burly mal­bec or shi­raz, from a tem­per­a­ture-con­trolled chiller unit, usu­ally set to about 16C. It would be con­sid­ered vinocide to do other­wise, so much bet­ter does the wine taste when it has this fresh edge. At home, the eas­i­est way to get a bot­tle of red to the right tem­per­a­ture on a warm day is to give it 20-30 min­utes in the fridge be­fore un­cork­ing. Or, if you can’t wait, pour your­self a small glass to be go­ing on with and THEN put the bot­tle in the fridge. And if the wine – white, rosé or orange – is the right tem­per­a­ture but you don’t have an ice bucket, or don’t want to be bob­bing up and down to and from the fridge to keep it that way, then I have a handy gad­get for you. The Cork­ci­cle wine cooler looks like an ici­cle topped with a cork and is filled with freeze gel. Keep it in your freezer, then pop it into an open bot­tle of wine to keep white white wines chilled or cool down warm reds. It’s avail­able from ama­,, John Lewis and other re­tail­ers for around £15 and it re­ally works. But if all else fails – ice cubes. Put a few in to get the tem­per­a­ture down rapidly, then fish them out and you’ll min­imise di­lu­tion.


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