The holidays are a prime time for entertaining and getting reacquainted with family and friends. That means many opportunities for dining occasions to delight and impress those to whom you hold dearly. One all too common hosting situation, even for the most experienced event planner, is running out of chilled champagne or white wine at an event. Remedy this situation by using some basic science as a guide.
Knowing the ideal room temperature for red wines, and the temperature goal for white wines and Champagne is necessary for success. The ideal room temperature for red wines is between 45 to 70 degrees, meaning in some climates you may need to put a bottle of red into the refrigerator before serving. The ideal serving temperature for white wine is 55 to 60 degrees while sparkling wines, or Champagnes, dip a bit lower to 40 to 50 degrees.
Going too far out of these boundaries can have adverse effects on even the best vintages. Too cold, and wine can lose the all prominent nose, or aroma, and key flavor elements. Too warm, and the taste of your red can be disguised or even muted. Here are a few tips to help you reach that perfect temperature.
If time permits, place the bottle of white wine or champagne in a bucket of ice for an hour, and just collect it when you're ready.
This one is a favorite of hosts and also seems to win over the approval of most sommeliers. Thoroughly wet a kitchen towel and place it flat on the kitchen counter. Place the bottle of wine on top of it, and wrap the wet towel around the wine bottle. Place the wine bottle with the wet kitchen towel into the freezer for 30 minutes. The key here is not to forget it!
While water usually freezes at 32 degrees, adding kosher salt to the ice lowers the freezing temperature of the water to around 15 degrees. 45 minutes with this solution works well. If using this method, make sure to rinse all salt water from the wine bottle before serving to prevent the possibility of salt water dripping in wine glasses, thus ruining the wine.
For this novel solution, simply keep frozen white or red grapes in the freezer for unexpected situations such as this. Toss the frozen grapes into the white wine glass and pour in the wine. The frozen grapes provide an organic ice cube and chill the wine as well as creating a guaranteed conversation starter for guests.
This device stays in the freezer and attaches to the neck of the wine bottle. When the room temperature wine is poured through the frozen Ravi neck sleeve, it is instantly chilled before it reaches the wine glass. The reviews of the Ravi are mixed, and it appears to work best if one only needs to chill six or so glasses of wine.
While the best plan is always to be prepared, especially if you are a professional event or wedding planner, the solutions to many holiday wine chilling situations can be solved with one of these ideas. If time permits, experiment with one or all to see which works best before that real need arises. Happy holiday entertaining from The International School of Hospitality.