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The History of St Andrews Vineyard…

For over 40 years, from 1891 until 1934, the St Andrews vineyard at Auburn was one of the leading wine producers in the Clare Valley.  The property was developed by two Scotsmen, John Christison (1849-1911) and David Alexander Lyall (1860-1956) and was named in honour of the patron saint of Scotland, St. Andrew.

On the 21st of September 1891, John Christison and David Lyall purchased Sampson Montgomery’s 323-acre farming property at Auburn with the intention of planting vineyards and orchards. Planting began at St Andrews in 1891 and continued for the next two seasons. By 1895 St Andrews had 115 acres of vineyards and 19 acres of orchard and it was already being referred to as ‘a model farm’. One agricultural journalist wrote, ‘The vineyard and orchard are the best laid out plantations it has been my privilege to see in South Australia.’

The suitability of the land for vine growing was recognised from the outset. To quote a contemporary writer of the time (1896), ‘The character of the country changes a good deal through the vineyard, but the bulk is a light loamy soil containing a quantity of decomposed slate, and this rests on a clay sub-soil. But occasionally there are belts of limestone subsoil, and wherever this is the case the 2½ year old vines have made wonderful growth.’

Ernest Whitington of The Register wrote in 1903, ‘The valley of the Wakefield contains some of the finest land in South Australia.  It does one’s heart good to drive through it.’

The grape varieties planted at St Andrews were Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Malbec, Mataro, Cabernet Gris and Zante Currant (used mainly for dried fruit). In good years they produced up to six tons of dried currants. The orchards were planted to apples (900 trees), plums (600 trees) and apricots (300 trees).

Construction of the stone, gravity flow winery and cellars began in 1895 and it was used for the first time in the vintage of 1896 when 3500 gallons of wine were made (15,911 litres). The original wine cage was the hollow log of a large gum tree and the press a 1.5 tonne log which worked as a lever.  Production of wine increased rapidly over the next few years – 10,000 gallons in 1897, 15,000 gallons in 1898, increasing to 28,000 gallons in 1903.

Historic St. Andrews winery - circa

Additions were made to the cellars in 1897-98 bringing the storage capacity to 65,000 gallons. A cooling system was introduced that same year.

In 1896, a reporter from the Observer wrote; ‘The Wakefield River runs through St Andrews, and Mr Lyall has ingeniously diverted a small stream for irrigation purposes.  The sight which met our view upon entering the property was delightfully refreshing and cheering…’

The winery cellars were described in 1897:  ‘The cellars are on the hill side, are well built, and every care has been taken in arranging, so that the whole work is done by gravitation.… The cellars are three stories high, one being underground, and the second storey is half underground. The cellar, casks, and everything connected with the cellar are scrupulously clean, and the wines sampled by us proved, without doubt, that Mr Lyall is determined that the St Andrew’s wine will make a name for South Australia.’

And the St Andrews wines did became very well-known. Christison & Lyall concentrated on making a light claret style wine for the export market with much of the wine being exported to England. They also produced ‘a very fine fruity port’ for which there was strong local demand.

Ernest Whitington from The Register, reported in The South Australian Vintage 1903, ‘Only the best sorts of vines are planted at St Andrews and most of them are trellised. In every way, the vineyard is worked on the most up-to-date scientific principles… The winery and cellars are well built, substantial and fitted with modern appliances… Mr Lyall has succeeded in making a first-class wine at St Andrews and it is admirably suited for the export trade…He is one of the most popular men in the district and everyone wishes him the best of luck.’

In August 1907 David and Emily Lyall purchased John Christison’s interest in the business. By 1910 the storage capacity of the winery had grown to 80,000 gallons, making it the second largest winery in the Clare district. The winemaker from 1919 to 1926 was Michael Auld, later Managing Director of Stonyfell Wines (1943).

Vintages in the 1920s produced up to 28,000 gallons of wine. The last vintage was in 1932. The Lyalls sold St Andrews in March 1934 to pastoralist Joseph Kenworthy. David Lyall retired to Walkerville. He died at Medindie on 27 August 1956 aged 96; buried at North Road Cemetery.

Joe Kenworthy was more interested in livestock grazing and race-horses than wine production and most of the vineyards were pulled out. He developed a Merino stud at St Andrews and converted the winery into a woolshed.  The St Andrews house was rebuilt in its current two-storied form in 1939. The Kenworthys were great supporters of the local community. They would often give the use of their place for a annual fundraising events.  Joseph Kenworthy died in 1943 aged 70. His funeral cortège travelled from St Andrews to the Auburn Cemetery.

Mrs Blanche Kenworthy remained at St Andrews for a further 30 years following her husband’s death. Mrs Kenworthy, who became one of the largest landowners in the district; died in May 1972.  In 1959, prior the Mrs Kenworthy’s death, the homestead and some of the Kenworthy’s land passed to Lawrence and Daphne Iskov. (Daphne was Blanche Kenworthy’s grand-daughter).

The Taylor family quickly recognised the potential of the adjacent St. Andrews property when they were first establishing their vineyards in the Clare Valley, and wanted to make it a part of the estate.  So, on 2nd of November 1995 the family purchased the property and became proud custodians of a piece of Australian wine history. They immediately set about the task of ‘recreating history’ and began restoring the property to its original purpose, a vineyard to produce handcrafted wines that stand alongside Australia’s iconic wine names and proudly showcase their Clare Valley origins.

The St Andrews vineyard now forms part of the overall Taylor family estate, which consists of 750 hectares in total with over 400 hectares under vine, planted in the finest terra rossa soils.

St.Andrews Original Winery

On Taylors St Andrews wines…

In 1999 the first of the Taylors St Andrews wines were released, including a Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Shiraz and Riesling.  Fruit for the St Andrews wines is selected from those blocks on the family’s estate that consistently produce the finest examples of Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Chardonnay and Riesling.

The Riesling is predominantly sourced from the St Andrews vineyard – block A80 and A81; an east-facing, sheltered site on the southern border of Watervale.

The Shiraz is predominantly sourced from two gently west facing sites; The 40 acre block (one of the oldest on the estate) and the St Andrews vineyard – block A30; a block that has been delivering fruit quality deemed ‘from heaven’ and so nicknamed ‘God’ by the winemakers.

Chardonnay is sourced from the St Andrews vineyard – blocks G30 and V20; a north-eastern site planted to French chardonnay clones that consistently delivers wine of greater ‘palate completeness’ and ‘elegance’.

The Cabernet Sauvignon is predominantly sourced from the St Andrews vineyard – block A60 and A70 block; vineyards that whilst basking in the sheltered warmth of the river flat still yield very shy bunches of tiny berries, resulting in those highly concentrated varietal fruit flavours sought by the winemaker for the flagship range.

St Andrews Range

The consistency of quality that these blocks deliver along with optimal viticultural techniques and a handcrafted approach to winemaking allow the unique site characteristics to shine through, making the St. Andrews wines a true reflection of what is known as ‘terroir’.  Indicative of the family’s commitment to producing a benchmark Clare Valley wine, the St Andrews wines are released only in what are deemed ‘exceptional’ vintages and with the Clare Valley region’s climate being what it is, this occurs more often than not.

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At the Taylors family winery, things are ‘full steam ahead’ as far as vintage 2017 goes with things progressing steadily and without incident.  The weather for January saw reasonably mild conditions with only 7 days registering a maximum temperature greater than 35°C and temperatures well in line with long term averages for the region.  Overall for the month we received almost 52 mm of rainfall, just under half of that we received in 1 day on the 20th January!  That day the temperature was also high – around 36°C – which can be problematic as these conditions tend to promote mildew diseases but Mother Nature was on our side and the temperatures quickly plummeted overnight to 21 °C for the next day coupled with reasonable winds – helping to dry out the canopies and dissipate humidity.  In any case, our vineyard team worked diligently to keep on top of any potential outbreaks and as a consequence, we saw no evidence of any mildew issues on the estate.

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The harvest commenced at our Clare Valley estate on the 1st of March as usual with a white variety; Pinot Gris.  The following day, we harvested Pinot Noir for sparkling base – which is technically a white wine too.  The winemakers were pleased to be able to use some new picking bins specifically designed to protect the juice from picking up any colour.  They have what is essentially like a sieve fitted inside the bin and any free run juice is protected from skin contact by draining through the holes in the sieve, collecting in the bottom to be syphoned off prior to being tipped into the press. These new bins will also be employed when the Pinot Noir for our Rosé wines are harvested, resulting in much better control of colour & phenolic pickup during the harvest and ultimately a more delicate wine.

Riesling was the next variety to be harvested on the 5th of March, quickly followed by Chardonnay and by the 24th of March, all of the white varieties from the estate had been harvested bar the Viognier.  We pick that at the same time as the Shiraz as the two varieties are co-fermented for our Eighty Acres wine.  Meanwhile, we commenced harvesting the first red variety from the estate, Tempranillo on the 8th of March.  Things quickly picked up from there with the team picking good quantities of both Shiraz and Merlot from the 10th of March.  The first of the Cabernet Sauvignon from the estate was only harvested yesterday on the 28th March and with the mild, sunny conditions promising a lovely long ‘hang time’ for the Cabernet Sauvignon – which bodes well for the wines we’ll produce.

At the time of writing, we’re only around 40% of what we intend to pick from the estate and as a comparison, this time last year, we were almost 85% through!

As far as the harvest from our grower partners in other regions go, Shiraz from McLaren Vale is the only one to reach 50 % completed so far.  We still have quite a bit to come in from the Adelaide Hills and also our Cabernet Sauvignon from Coonawarra for the Jaraman range.  This is often the last fruit to come in over vintage.  With the weather holding beautifully for the foreseeable future, it’s certainly been slow and steady but you know, that’s just how we like it!

Enhancing your wine

Did you know you have more control over how much you enjoy a nice bottle of wine apart from just choosing a good label? From storing to pouring, you can influence how your wine tastes. Follow these tips on how to enhance the flavour of your wine.

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Temperature

Temperature plays a vital role in the enjoyment of wine, from the moment the vines are planted all the way to the storage of the wine in your home and of course, the drinking of it. If a wine is stored incorrectly in high temperatures it will age and spoil before you’ve even opened it.

If you serve a red wine that is too warm the flavours will be masked by the alcohol. If you serve a white wine that is too cold, you also won’t be able to taste it properly as the flavours will be muted by the cold. If you have a cheap bottle of white that doesn’t taste very good, make it as cold as possible before serving!  For a white wine that you actually want to taste, enhance your drinking experience by leaving the bottle out of the fridge for a short while before serving and conversely, with a red, maybe put it in the fridge for a short time before serving – especially if it’s a warm day!

Decanting

So many wines are being made to enjoy ‘young’ these days, and so consumers often think there isn’t much need to decant it first. However, all wines will benefit from decanting, even the young ones. Decanting allows more oxygen into the wine from the design of the decanter. Also, the splashing motion when the wine goes from the bottle to the decanter will help to aerate it.

Of course, once the wine is exposed to air it will begin the oxidation process, which over a period of time will make your lovely wine turn foul. But if you plan to drink the wine soon after decanting you will not have to worry about this too much.

All older red wines should be decanted as a rule. This is because an older wine can throw off sediment as they age. When you decant the wine, don’t tip the entire bottle up, letting the sediment go into the decanter. Pour carefully at an angle so the sediment stays in the bottle but the wine is released. Aged wines may sometimes have a musty character, but this will go away with decanting.

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 Pairing food and wine

What is better than enjoying food or wine? Enjoying them together when you get the mix just right. When you match food and wine in the right way, it can enhance the flavour not only of the wine but of the food as well. To find the perfect match, you can keep a chart like this handy in your kitchen. Or you could just remember these two simple rules: white wine matches with light foods such as white meat, salads and fish. Red wine goes well with red meat or a rich casserole. Sparkling wine however, can go with just about anything as it acts as a palate cleanser.

If want to delve deeper, you can look at what makes up a wine and pair that to food. For example, if you have an acidic wine it will go well with fatty or sweet foods. A wine high in tannins will also go well with sweet food.

If in doubt remember one very important rule: this is not a contest between food and wine. One should not overpower the other, so if you are going for a light salad, don’t pair it with a bold red. And if you are going for a heavy, spiced steak don’t pair it with a sauvignon blanc. That is because one flavour will be the clear winner while you don’t taste much of the other one at all – and what is the sense in that? So the next time you are choosing a dish that is heavy or full of flavour, do the same with your wine. And same again for food and wines that have a more delicate taste.

Using the right glasses

Another way to enhance your wine tasting experience is to use the correct glass ware. The flavour of wine can actually be improved by using different drink ware for each type of wine. White wine glasses are smaller and narrower, while red wine glasses are larger with a wide opening. It is possible to get different shaped glassware for all varietals if you don’t have the storage room for that, just red and white glasses are fine.

Red wine glasses are wide at the top to allow more air in the glass, which in turn releases the wines aromas and influences the taste. White wine glasses are more narrow at the top, which leads the wine to go to the centre of your tongue when sipping it. By doing this, the wine mostly bypasses the sensors on the sides of the tongue, which in turn reduces the acidic flavours.

At Taylors Wines we have developed a unique, touch activated temperature sensor so you can tell when your wine is at the perfect serving temperature to enjoy. Read more about our new Optimum Drinking Temperature sensor and order your FREE sensor stickers today to take the Taylors Temperature Challenge and see the difference for yourself.

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Occasionally you will get a bottle of wine that is flawed. There are a few reasons why this might happen, but usually it is not the fault of anyone in particular. However, there are some ways you can accidentally ruin your wine:

  1. Serving temperature

All wine has an optimum temperature at which it is best enjoyed. Although not many people realise this, and certainly not many restaurants follow, red wine should be slightly ‘cool’ so it is not served too warm, and white wine should be allowed to ‘warm up’ when taken straight from the fridge. A bottle of white is actually far more enjoyable if it is just chilled rather than too cold and the taste of red wine can be ruined if you serve it too warm.

  1. Storage

There are some important rules when storing wine in your home. Find a place that has the right level of humidity. Too much and you can risk getting mouldy corks that will ruin the wine. Not enough and the corks will dry out and crack, letting air get into the bottle and oxidising it long before you even open it. Try not to move the bottles too often as it is best if they remain still. And finally, cork bottles should always be laying down as opposed to standing. Of course, if the wine is sealed with a screw cap – which most modern wines are – you can stand the bottles up and there’s no need to worry about levels of humidity. All wine should be kept in a darkened area, not exposed to direct sunlight. Even strong overhead lights can cause damage if they are left on all of the time and glowing directly on the bottles. If there will be lighting near your bottles, make sure you use bulbs with a UV protectant coating.

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  1. Overheating wine

Once wine hits a certain temperature it will begin ‘cooking’ and the damage done is irreversible. If you have a bottle of wine that has a cork in it and you fear it may have been exposed to high temperatures, take a look at the positioning of the cork. If it is slightly pushed out, this means the wine has been cooked and you can expect it will be ruined. Never keep wine in a place where it can be exposed to extreme heat such as next to the oven or above the fridge. When you are choosing a bottle from the shop, don’t choose the bottles that are near the windows as they may have been exposed to direct sunlight.

  1. Leaving it open for too long

Once a bottle of wine has been opened, oxygen will get in and the oxidation process will begin. You can slow this process down by re-sealing the wine properly but you cannot stop it, so the best thing you can do is make sure you drink the wine within the right timeframe. Red wines and heavy bodied whites should be finished within three to five days. Lighter white wines have a bit longer, lasting up to five days.

  1. Store it for too long

Always check the label of a new bottle of wine to see how long you should cellar it for. All wine is different, and while some may be ready to be enjoyed now, others may benefit from cellaring for a few years. But no wine is good if you leave it for far too long and miss the best year to open it. Read the labels carefully and try using wine tags on your bottles so you know at a glance which ones are ready for drinking.

The following ways in which a wine can be ruined cannot be helped by the end consumer. But these points are worth knowing about so you can understand if the wine you have bought is flawed and whether or not you should return it:

  1. Cork taint

When airborne fungi come into contact with cork, it will produce TCA. This is a chemical compound that will unfortunately ruin a good bottle of wine. At least three percent of wines that have a natural cork are affected by this fungus, but if you have a screw top this isn’t something you need to worry about.

  1. Volatile acidity

Volatile acidity is normal in all wines, but only in small quantities. However, if there’s bacteria in the winery the combination of this with the alcohol and oxygen, it can create volatile acidity to levels that will destroy the wine, leaving it tasting sour with a strong dose of vinegar.

  1. Fermenting after being bottled

If a wine is not filtered prior to bottling, there may be leftover yeast and sugar in the wine and this will cause the wine to begin fermenting again in storage. By the time you open a bottle that has been fermenting accidentally you will know due to the tiny bubbles, as well as the bad taste.

  1. Excessive sulphur

Sulphur is important in the winemaking process, especially when it comes to keeping bacteria away. However, too much sulphur can ruin a good bottle of wine. The result of too much sulphur is a wine that can taste or smell like burnt matches or rubber, or in some cases like rotten eggs.

  1. A yeast called brett

Brett is short for a yeast called brettanomyces which tends to grow in the barrels in wineries. It is difficult to fully eliminate brett once it has infiltrated a winery, and so some wineries have actually become known for producing wines that have the distinct flavours that brett can bring. In a small amount, it can be quite pleasant. However, in large amounts it will spoil a good bottle of wine.

At Taylors Wines we have developed a unique, touch activated temperature sensor so you can tell when your wine is at the perfect serving temperature to enjoy. Read more about our new Optimum Drinking Temperature sensor and order your FREE sensor stickers today to take the Taylors Temperature Challenge and see the difference for yourself.

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Temperature is very important when it comes to wine, not just for when you are storing it or serving it, but all the way from the very beginning. The moment a viticulturist plants a vine, temperature plays a big role throughout the process of the grapes growing, being processed into wine, being transported and stored correctly until the moment it hits your glass at the perfect degree.

It all begins where the grapes are grown. There are two climates that grapes are grown in: warm climate or cool climate. Even if the varietal is the same, the taste of the fruit will vary depending on which climate it was grown in.

Like all fruit, a grape needs a certain amount of warmth and sunlight in order to ripen fully. A sufficient amount of heat during growing season will yield a good crop, allowing the growers enough grapes to make wine or to sell on to winemakers. No one is in charge of the weather, so each year is different and no one really knows how it is going to play out. A colder than usual year will produce a very different tasting crop to one that has experienced a warmer than usual season.

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Just as the sun needs to be shining enough throughout the summer to produce an abundance of fruit, it also needs to become cold enough for the vine to go dormant during winter. The dormant part of the life cycle is actually just as important as the growing stage.

Grapes for wine are grown in all parts of the world. It can come from regions that experience colder temperatures, like New Zealand or Tasmania, or it can come from warm climates like Spain and Argentina. All of these regions work to their own strengths and plant varietals that are more suitable to the climate they are in. However, it is possible to grow most varietals in any climate, it will just impact on the taste of the fruit and therefore the wine.

Cool climate wine

A cool climate region is just that; an area that experiences colder temperatures. It doesn’t need to be an area that stays cold all year round, in fact they rarely do. In the warmer months they may experience very high temperatures, but there are other factors at play with how the grapes grow. It can depend on the length of the growing season, how fast the temperature drops off towards harvest time and how much direct sunlight the fruit is exposed to during the season. A cool climate may have a warm day, but the amount of hours the sun is out is vastly different to a warm climate. The metabolic process of the vine and the fruit will be slowed down due to less, or weaker, sunlight and the development of sugar slows down. This is why the wine will be more acidic than the warm climate wines.

A cool climate wine will be lower in alcohol, be light bodied and have a subtler taste. It will be higher in acidity. The type of grapes that thrive in cool climates are: pinot noir, chardonnay and sauvignon blanc.

Warm climate wine

A warm climate will experience hot temperatures and a lot of direct sunlight. A direct, strong sun for more hours of the day will make the fruit grow faster and ripen more quickly. The sun also plays the lead role in how much sugar grows within the grape, so a warm climate wine will be sweeter to taste as the sugar content is higher.

A warm climate wine is usually bolder, with a full body and stronger fruit flavours. It will have a higher alcohol content and less acidity. Most reds are suited to warm climates.

Transportation and storage

No matter which climate a grape has been grown in, even if it is from the hottest corner of the earth, once produced into wine it should never be exposed to too much heat.

One of the biggest concerns for the growers and the wine producers is that the transportation of the wine to the shops and eventually to the consumer is done with the utmost care, so that each person can enjoy the same taste from the wine that the maker had intended. When wine is exposed to heat it will begin the aging process and can actually age a bottle up to four times faster than one that has been kept within the correct temperature range.

Once a customer has purchased a bottle of wine and intends to drive home with it, there is no need to be concerned about the temperature fluctuation from the liquor shop, to the car, to the house. A slow and small variation is not going to make a huge difference. However, if the wine is accidentally left in a hot car for a day or two there will be an unpleasant difference in the taste once it is eventually opened.

At Taylors Wines we have developed a unique, touch activated temperature sensor so you can tell when your wine is at the perfect serving temperature to enjoy. Read more about our new Optimum Drinking Temperature sensor and order your FREE sensor stickers today to take the Taylors Temperature Challenge and see the difference for yourself.

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Not all warm meals are meant to be served hot, and not all drinks are meant to be served cold. Welcome to the wonderful world of your tongue, where temperature plays a leading role in your perception of taste.

Temperature can refer to the actual degrees of a meal – such as a warm soup or a cold salad. It can also refer to the spice levels, such as a hot and spicy meal versus a mild dish. Either way, when you are choosing a wine to go along with your meal you should take into account these different factors. Usually, like goes with like in the food and wine world. A cold salad goes well with a cold glass of sauvignon blanc, while a hot curry pairs perfectly with a spicy red. Read on to find out why temperature plays such an important role in the serving of food and wine:

Temperature of food

The taste of food can be greatly changed depending on the temperature at which you are consuming it. Although it may sound odd, a dish should never be eaten when it is piping hot. The food will burn your tastebuds and you won’t be able to taste the flavours. As the meal begins to cool down, the flavours will become more pronounced and you will be able to enjoy them more. If a restaurant serves you a meal that is just warm instead of hot, take a moment to try the flavours before you complain. Like Goldilocks, you may find that the dish is just right!

Different types of food can change taste quite drastically depending on the temperature at which it is eaten. The Journal of Sensory Studies published a paper in 2005 about an experiment conducted on cheddar cheese. Researchers served the same cheese at varying temperatures; 5C, 12C and 21C. The people tasting the cheese reported very different tastes for each one. As the temperature of the cheese rose, the sourness increased.

In an experiment conducted in the same year, the opposite was found to happen to ice-cream. As ice-cream grows warmer and begins to melt, it becomes more and more sweet until it reaches a point of being sickeningly sweet. Frozen cold ice-cream however, is just the right level of sweetness to be enjoyed. Temperature affects the taste of food and drink in all different ways, for example; ham is salty when cold but savoury when warm, and beer becomes bitter when it warms up.

Serving Temperature of Food and Drink

Serving Temperature of Food and Drink

Temperature of what you drink while eating

Australians tend to drink ice-cold water at mealtimes. In Asia, it is more common to have a glass of warm or even hot water with the meal. In Europe it is somewhere in the middle, as they enjoy their water not far below room temperature. What people are probably unaware of is that the temperature at which they are enjoying their drinks, whether it is water, juice or wine, can make a difference to what they are tasting in their meal. Cold drinks actually decrease the taste of sweetness in food, as well as the perception of creaminess and any chocolate flavours. Researchers are now wondering if Americans, who like their drinks ice-cold like Australians, prefer sweet food for this very reason.

Changing the temperature of your tongue has also been linked to a change in perception of sweetness versus saltiness. Warming the front edge of the tongue can conjure sweetness, whereas cooling that same area evokes saltiness and/or sourness.

Spicy food

You will often hear that wine and spicy food don’t mix. But surprisingly, a full-bodied red goes very well with a dish that is heavy on the spice.

Many people assume that eating something spicy might mean you’re better off with something cold to cool the mouth down. But red wine is said to help dilute the sting that comes from chilli peppers.

Choose a dry red that has been chilled just lightly in the fridge. It needs to be bold enough so the flavour of the wine can still be tasted through the spice of the food. Don’t be afraid to choose a wine high in tannins, as spice will mostly eliminate the taste of tannins. You will be surprised at how different the wine tastes on its own compared to drinking it with a hot meal.

If you prefer white wine, opt for a cold, sweet white to go with your spicy food.

Mild food

If you are planning to serve a mild dish consisting of fish or poultry, you should pair it with a lighter wine. Try a light dry wine, like a sauvignon blanc, or a sparkling wine with fish. For poultry, opt for a rich white wine such as chardonnay or a light to medium red, such as a pinot noir or a merlot. The trick is to try not to have either the food or the wine overpowering the other. It isn’t a competition between the two tastes, instead they should fully complement each other.

At Taylors Wines we have developed a unique, touch activated temperature sensor so you can tell when your wine is at the perfect serving temperature to enjoy. Read more about our new Optimum Drinking Temperature sensor and order your FREE sensor stickers today to take the Taylors Temperature Challenge and see the difference for yourself.

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White wine should be served chilled and red wine should be served at room temperature. Well, that’s the general rule anyway. But what if room temperature happens to be too warm to be enjoyable? Truthfully, red wine should never be served at room temperature in Australia. This rule dates back to when wine was served in European dining rooms in medieval times. Before air conditioning and central heating, those big halls usually sat at a cool 15-18 degrees naturally.

Nowadays, the room temperature refers to the temperature of a European cellar. Even with homes being warmed and cooled, the temperature of the average European cellar is still the same as back in the medieval times. That means when you choose a bottle of red to drink with dinner, you can serve it straight away. In some parts of Europe, the place where they store the wine can be even colder than this, dropping down below 10 degrees. In this case, the wine will need to be bought back up to ‘room temperature’ before being served. It is not uncommon in European households to bring their wine inside the heated area of the house to warm up before enjoying it.

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The myth of room temperature

In Australia, room temperature is much higher on average at 21-25 degrees. If a bottle of red is opened and served in that environment, you will get a strong alcohol taste and it could be quite acidic. If you cool the wine down first, you will unlock the aromas and the optimal taste will emerge. The strong alcohol taste in warm wines will overpower the subtler flavours that are what makes the wine special. It is especially worse in red wines as they often already have a higher level of alcohol to start with.

It doesn’t take long to cool a bottle of red down because it doesn’t need to become cold, it just needs to be cooler than room temperature. Put the bottle in the fridge for 15 to 45 minutes or so, and it will drop to a good temperature. If you usually drink your wine at Australian room temperature, you will notice a really big difference by doing this. You don’t have to get out a special wine thermometer to check that you’ve reached the exact optimal degree, you can just check the temperature sensor on Taylors Estate and Promised Land wines or taste the wine at intervals while it slowly warms up or cools down, and choose the temperature that you enjoy most.

Room temperature variations

Back in medieval times, the only thing that would make a room temperature fluctuate is the outside weather. And even then, it would take a long time for those old stone buildings to heat up. These days, we have a whole host of reasons why a room may go hot and cold. In older homes, poor insulation can account for a hot house in summer and a cold house in winter. The temperature can swing quite dramatically with the changes of the seasons, so anyone storing wine in an older home may find the wine ages faster than what it says it should do on the bottle. Sudden changes in temperature is not good for any wine, which is why bottles are normally stored somewhere constant like a cellar.

There is also an enormous difference in the levels in two-storey (or more) homes. As heat rises, the top level of a multi-storey home can be 8-10 degrees warmer than the ground level. That kind of temperature difference can make a big impact on your bottles of wine if you store them in a room upstairs. Always store wine on the ground level or below if you can.

Another thing that can make an impact on the room temperature in your home is if you have a leaky air conditioning duct. Up to 30% of airflow can be lost through ducts that have even small leaks. Sometimes, it isn’t obvious that you have a leak and as much as you try to keep your house cool it just doesn’t seem to be dropping in temperature. Meanwhile, everything inside the home is getting hotter and possibly spoiling.

High humidity levels can alter the temperature of a room. Dry air, however, can spell disaster for wine that uses a cork. Dried corks will eventually crack, which then allows oxygen to get into the wine before you’ve even opened it.

There are so many variables at play when it comes to room temperature that it would not make sense to have wine served at ‘room temperature’ in different homes or restaurants across the world.

If the temperature in your home fluctuates between extremes, it might be a good idea to invest in a good wine fridge. Choose something that controls humidity as well as temperature, and you will be able to enjoy wine at the optimal drinking temperature no matter what the weather is doing outside.

At Taylors Wines we have developed a unique, touch activated temperature sensor so you can tell when your wine is at the perfect serving temperature to enjoy. Read more about our new Optimum Drinking Temperature sensor and order your FREE sensor stickers today to take the Taylors Temperature Challenge and see the difference for yourself.

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