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Cool Cabernet and Shivering Sauvignon Blanc

Truth be told, can your Sauvignon Blanc be too cold? Although that sounds highly unlikely at this time of year in the Southern Hemisphere, it is important to remember the influence serving temperatures can have of the enjoyment of wine.

The serving temperature of wine is critically important to our enjoyment of the wine and also to ensuring that we get to appreciate all the beautiful flavours and aromas the different styles and varieties offer us.

White wines and bubbly’s are easy enough – store them in the fridge, at least one hour prior to serving, and they should be at the right temperature.

If, however, it is a very hot day, make sure to keep the opened bottle in an ice-bucket, or back in the fridge between servings.

Bubbly, can definitely be popped in the freezer 15 minutes before serving, as it tastes more refreshing at a slightly lower temperature than white wine (just don’t forget it in there … it might explode!).

In our warm South African summer, remember that wine warms up quickly in the glass, so the rule of thumb is to pour smaller servings and top up from the ice-bucket more often.

Red wine is arguably the wine most often served at the wrong temperature.

Hands up everyone who has heard that red wine must be served at room temperature. This was true in the days when wines were kept in the cool and cold underground cellars of European houses and the room temperature rule actually developed as a way of warming the wines up by letting them stand for an hour or two prior to drinking.

In Franschhoek in February, room temperature can often be in the high 30’s, almost 10 degrees Celsius higher that the temperature at which red wine should be served.

In this case it is acceptable and sometimes required to chill the bottle of Syrah Viognier for an hour in the fridge prior to serving, or even to give it 20 minutes in an ice-bucket.

Again, pouring a smaller amount at a time ensures the wine doesn’t warm up in the glass too quickly.

One last hint: When preparing an ice-bucket, particularly to chill, at room temperature, a bottle of wine quickly, always mix 50% water and 50% ice. This way, more of the bottle is in contact with a cold surface area and will chill more quickly.

And, as for adding ice to the glass of wine, that is not recommended. The melting ice dilutes the wine and all the effort of the wine-making team to give you a well-balanced and complex glassful is void!


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