Temperature vs. Aeration

Hello All,

This is my first post to this forum, so first let me just say "Hi!".

I have been drinking wine for many years, but I have just recently decided to embark on what I hope will be a lifelong journey to purposefully (and happily!) learn more about wine. I've been reading as much as I can to learn about wines, grapes, and regions, and I've also been starting to taste more wines with focus and awareness - trying to learn to recognize and identify the flavors and textures, etc that I like, so that I can talk about them and describe them to others, and also better remember them myself. It's certainly not easy to do, but luckily, it's very enjoyable!

The first question that is stumping me is regarding tasting temperature and aeration. I have read in a few places, and I think it makes good sense, that a red wine should be served between 60 - 65 degrees F. This was at some point equated with 'room temperature', and so the general rule of thumb is that red wine should be served at room temperature. However, room temperature in my house is usually somewhere between 69 - 75 degrees F, depending on the season.

I've also read that it is a good practice to aerate a wine, especially a complex red, before drinking, which usually takes at least 30 minutes, and up to a few hours. Of course, by the time a wine has been sitting in the decanter for even 30 minutes, it's at room temperature, which again, in my house is ~70 degrees, and I've also read that even 2 or 3 degrees can make a very large difference in how structure and flavor is perceived when you taste. So...

In general, I think I'm going to forego aerating in favor of tasting at the lower temperature. However, I am curious if I am missing something, and whether or not there is some obvious method that other, more experienced wine drinkers may know that allows wines to be aerated and brought to the right temp together at the same time.

Oh, I probably also should have mentioned that I don't have a cellar, and that my refrigerator will often have things like leftover Chinese takeout, or other equally aromatic items hanging out inside, so aerating in the fridge is not a great option Smile

Hopefully I'm not over-complicating this, but it wouldn't be the first time I've been guilty of that!

Very Best,

Dave DeWhitt
Original Post
1) Get a cellar of some sort. If you're going to be a serious wino, it's going to be a great asset in allowing you to buy ageable wines upon release, store them well and drink them when they're ready.

2) Decant your young reds that need some airtime. If you'r finding that they're getting too warm, cover the top of the decanter with saran wrap (to avoid aromatic contamination from your chinese food) and use your fridge to bring the temperature down a bit.

You're good to go.

FWIW I've found that giving several hours of aeration to, say, a young Bordeaux is far more significant than the difference between serving a red at 65 vs 69 degrees. I would also caution against serving too cold. If you serve a red at fridge temperature you will very likely numb the aromatics.
Ditto to both of the above, although all in all I'd rather have a wine too cold than too warm. Esp if it's a young wine that you want decanted anyway, wait a few minutes until it's the temp you want and you get more air time.

Depending on who's over, you can always open another bottle while you're waiting for that one.

Or you can avoid the "problem" by approaching it in reverse - put the wine in the fridge first and then decant. In the fridge for an hour, decanted on the counter for an hour, and you're usually OK. Or whatever time frame seems to work for you. I'm impatient so I stick it in the freezer for 10-15 minutes. It's not medical science so play around.

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