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Archive for November, 2016

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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It is quite normal for the majority of people to serve their wine without really thinking about the temperature of it. The red is served straight from the shelf or storage area at room temperature, and the white is served completely cold straight from the fridge. However, just as you wouldn’t enjoy a lukewarm cup of tea compared to a hot one, it is a lot more enjoyable to drink wine at the optimum temperature.

While it is true that red wine should be served at a warmer temperature than white wine, there isn’t really any truth to the notion of serving it at ‘room temperature’. And although white wine is delicious when it is chilled, it shouldn’t be consumed too cold.

Why does temperature matter?

The serving temperature can literally change the scent and the taste of a wine. It can enhance the flavour or it can make it unpleasant. That is why serving temperature is so important.

Wine has many different layers of aroma and taste. As wine changes temperature, it will slowly release the different layers and when you reach the optimum drinking temperature, you will experience all of the notes in a wine, even the really delicate ones. However, if you serve a red wine that is too warm you will likely be overwhelmed by a strong taste of alcohol. And if you drink a white wine when it is too cold, it will be quite tart.

The colder the wine, the more the acids and tannins are accentuated. Tannins are good but not when they are too dominant and throw the wine out of balance.

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A glass of wine that is too cold will also lose most of its aroma. The wine becomes flat and dull, and doesn’t really smell of anything much. If you are unsure how to serve it, aim to be on the cold side. Sniff the wine and if you can’t really smell anything then give it a while to warm up and try again. Once you can detect the different aromas in the glass it is ready to drink.

Red wine that is really warm is not pleasant to taste. Even worse, if it is exposed to too much heat and for too long it will actually damage the wine completely. Be careful that any wine is not stored near sources of heat such as fridges, stoves or areas of direct sunlight or there will be no saving the wine.

The Optimum Drinking Temperature

Every wine has an optimum drinking temperature. That is the temperature that a wine will taste at its absolute best. Super cold for white and overly warm for red means the wine will not be reaching its full potential.

The myth behind room temperature for red wine came from Europe where, centuries ago, the wine was served in large, stone dining halls. It was long before electrical heating was invented, so the red wine was never exposed to high temperatures. In fact, it was often served around the 15 to 18-degree mark, which is perfect for red wine.

These days, with a warmer climate in Australia plus indoor heating, room temperatures can get as high as 25 degrees on average, and sometimes even higher. Because of this, the taste of red wine can become compromised. In Australia, it is recommended that you cool your bottle of red wine down to a similar temperature that they enjoyed in the medieval times.

A bottle of white wine should not be stored in the fridge long-term or it will get too cold. Instead, only place the wine in the fridge a couple of hours before you intend to open it. The bottle will be cold to the touch when it is ready. If you have kept it in there for longer, take the bottle out at least half an hour before serving so that it has a chance to warm up slightly.

Getting the drinking temperature just right

For red wine, put the bottle in the fridge for 15-45 minutes before serving. For white wine, put it in for a couple of hours. The red wine bottle should feel cool to the touch and the white wine bottle should feel cold.

If you are unsure and would like to work out the exact right drinking temperature for your favourite wine, why not try experimenting with it? Put the bottle in the fridge for an hour and then take it out. Pour yourself a small glass and taste it. Continue to pour a small glass every 15 minutes or half hour and taste it. Take notice of the difference in aroma as well as taste as the wine begins to slowly warm up. Once you have found the temperature at which the wine tastes the best, take note so you can enjoy it this way every time.

If you’ve been served a glass of wine at a restaurant that is too warm, don’t be afraid to ask for a cube of ice or two. Pop it into the glass for just a minute. This will be long enough to cool the liquid without watering it down, and will taste much better than a glass of wine that is too warm.

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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Did you know even if you are a wine aficionado, there is a very good chance that you are drinking your wine at the wrong temperature? It is a common mistake to go by the old ‘rule’ that red wine should be served at room temperature and white wine should be served straight from the fridge.

The truth is, red wine should be served at what is called ‘cellar temperature’, which is actually cooler than the room temperature most people aim for. And while white wine should be chilled, straight from the fridge is actually too cold.

The idea about serving red wine at room temperature actually hails from Europe. There, a good bottle of red will be served directly from the cellar where in actual fact, the temperatures are quite a bit cooler than those of an average room in Australia. Especially in summer! The temperature of wine from the cellar ranges between 15 to 18 degrees. This is actually the optimal drinking temperature of most varieties of red wine. However, average (climate controlled) room temperatures in Australia are usually between 23 – 25 degrees and of course, when outside in the typical Australian summer, a lot warmer!

If you cool a bottle of red wine down slightly to bring it to 15 – 18 degrees, you will notice a big difference in the taste and the overall experience will be much improved. Try one of these methods on your favourite bottle and enjoy the new flavours and aromas that are unlocked.

View our taylors-wines-optimum-drinking-temperature-guide to check the perfect serving temperature by varietal.

Taylors Wines Optimum Drinking Temperature Guide

 

Pop it in the fridge

The refrigerator may feel like a place reserved only for white wine or bubbles, but you should also make room for the red. As odd as it feels, the next time you wish to enjoy a bottle of red, pop it in shortly before serving. Don’t leave it for too long, just 15 minutes will do the trick. Any longer is not ideal, but if you do forget about it and go overtime just take it back out and let it warm slowly via room temperature. If you’re pushed for time, the freezer is another option. Wet a tea towel and wrap it around the bottle before placing it in the freezer to speed the process up a bit.

Decant before the fridge

If you have guests pop in unannounced, you may find waiting 15 minutes for the wine to cool in the fridge is too long. Not a problem, simply decant the wine first. Smaller amounts of liquid will cool much faster than a whole bottle. Pour the wine into the individual glasses and place them carefully into the fridge. This is especially pleasant on a hot day as the whole glass cools down and keeps the wine at the right temperature for a tad longer.

Chilled ‘rock’ cubes

Plopping an ice cube into a good glass of red wine is guaranteed to get you some eye rolls from people. But if done with those cool little cubes of marble usually reserved for whisky, you can chill your red just enough to get it to the right temperature without ruining the taste. Pop the chilled ‘rocks’ in to cool the wine down and then simply take them out and pop back into the freezer to use again another time.
Another idea is to use frozen grapes. Place clean frozen grapes into your glass and you will still get the full effect of an ice cube but without watering the wine down. It can also be a cute talking point at your next dinner party. Worst case, use an ice cube but make sure you take it out before it melts and ‘waters’ down the flavours in your wine.

If you are not at home

If you are camping or having a picnic and your bottle of red is a bit on the warm side, you can use nature to your advantage. On a really cold day, you can simply keep the bottle outdoors and it will gradually cool down to the right temperature. Or if there is a stream nearby, place the bottle in carefully for about half an hour until it has cooled. Turn the bottle occasionally to cool it down faster.

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Use a gadget

There are several gadgets on the market designed to either cool your wine down fast, or keep it cool on those hot days. There are electric ice buckets that can make a bottle cold in just 3 minutes, frozen sleeves to keep the bottle cool while it is on the table and frozen wine glasses designed to keep each serve refreshingly cool for hours. But you can’t go past the Corksicle Air, a plastic icicle full of gel that you freeze and then put into your wine. It won’t make a warm bottle of white go cold, but it will cool down a red to the desired temp or keep the white cold for longer. It will also aerate your wine while it pours.

White wine lovers

If you are drinking your white wine straight from the fridge, you are having it too cold. Most refrigerators are set to around 4 degrees, but most varieties of white wine should be served between 8 and 10 degrees. You should allow your white wine to warm up slightly before enjoying it. This can be done simply by taking the wine out of the fridge around half an hour before serving it.

When in doubt, always serve the wine a little colder than what you think it should be. Anything out of a fridge will eventually warm up, but it won’t become cooler on it’s own.

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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