How To Properly Chill Wine

chilling wine

Does keeping the wine bottles vertically in the fridge chill it faster than wrapping it in a wet towel? What’s the best way to chill bottles from your favorite red wine club? What about adding wine cubes to the wine?

Reaching the right temperature is vital for the best wine drinking experience. Read on to explore the importance of best temperatures and methods for chilling wine.

Finding The Right Temperature

When it comes to wines, chilling properly is crucial for revealing the tannins, body, and tasting notes of the wine without muting them. However, reaching the ideal drinking temperature varies widely between different types. For instance, biodynamic and organic wines from organic wine clubs and vegan wine clubs should be served more lightly chilled than their sparkling wine contemporaries.

1. The Right Temperature for Reds

From the tannins that seep out from the skin and seeds of the grapes to meticulous aging, red wines are processed differently from whites and other popular varieties. You need to figure out the body and dryness of the wine to properly cool it for serving.

Here’s the ideal temperature for serving red wines:

  • Light-bodied reds should be kept in the fridge for 1.5 hours at 550F.
  • Medium-bodied reds should be kept in the fridge for over one hour at 600F.
  • Full-bodied reds should be kept in the fridge for 45 minutes at 650F.

Too much warmth in red wine can make it feel soupy whereas freezing-cold red wines might taste duller and bland without any pronounced flavors. Moreover, red wines are best served after one hour of uncorking to allow them to breathe.

2. The Right Temperature For Whites

Although best served cold, white wines shouldn’t be icy-cold. The cold temperature accentuates the acidity and body of the wine to reveal subtler notes. If your white is too cold, it can often seem sharp, just like warm white wines taste acidic.

  • Light-bodied-whites are best served at 450F to 500F with up to two hours in the refrigerator.
  • Medium-bodied-whites gain the best notes at 500F to 550F with light chilling.
  • Full-bodied-whites express the best tastes at 500F to 600F.

Keep in mind that mature whites are best stored in the cellar than in the refrigerator.

3. The Right Temperature For Fortified Wines

Dessert wines and fortified wines require careful cooling because of the sweetness and sugar contained within. If you chill it too long, aroma and the flavor can become edgy whereas warm fortified wines may taste like syrup.

  • Vintage Port service is recommended at a temperature of 66˚0F.
  • NV/ Tawny Port is best consumed at 570F.
  • Dry fortified wines get the best notes at 500F.
  • Medium-bodied fortified wines can be chilled up to 530F.
  • Sweet fortified wines require standard cooling at 650F before serving.

Typically, fruity fortified wines are served chilled, unlike mature ones often served warm.

4. The Right Temperature For Rosés and Sparkling Wines

When it comes to Rosé wines, uncorking and letting the bottle sweat for a few minutes before serving reveals its flavors and aromas better than full-chilling. However, sparkling wines and champagnes need chilling to enhance the carbonation if you like the bubbles. Find out which is the right temperature for both.

Rosé wines: 

  • Dry Rosé is considered flavorsome at 460F to 570F.
  • Medium Rosé is recommended to be chilled at 550F to 600F.
  • Sweet Rosé should be cooled to 500F to 600F prior to serving.

Champagnes and Sparkling wines:

  • Sparkling wines are best enjoyed at 400F to 450F.
  • Champagnes and premium bubblies should be served at white wine temperature or 380F to 450F.

How To Reach The Right Temperature

Besides planning in advance, fermented drinks must be handled with care when chilling. Before you mimic all the methods advised on the internet for cooling wines quickly, check out which ones actually work.

Best Wine Chilling Methods That Work

  • Icy brine bath: Fill a bucket with ice, water, and salt to chill wines in less than 15 minutes.
  • Ice cubes: While ice cubes melt and change the tastes, they are the best in wine cocktails.
  • Bucket cubes: You can also fill up a bucket with ice cubes.
  • Reusable ice cubes: The stone-chilled cubes keep the wine cold for sufficient time without changing the flavors.
  • Grape cubes: Best ways to chill the wine moderately without diluting it.
  • By the glass: Place a glass or two of wine in the fridge instead of the bottle.

Best Wine Chilling Methods That Don’t Work

  • Chilled wine glass with a thin stem isn’t cooling enough for wines.
  • Sticking a bottle into the freezer isn’t a good idea given the liquid inside can expand, put pressure on the cork, and explore in the fridge or outside.

Bottom Line

When it comes to wine, every case is unique and every bottle special. That’s why it’s important to keep the best chilling practices for different types of wines in your mind at all times.