What you need to know about red wine.

Dear Wine Ladies,

My husband says red wine should always be stored at room temperature whether it is open or not. I heard that once red wine is opened it should be kept in the fridge, then brought to room temperature just before serving, who is correct?

Hi Elaine,

Thanks for the great questions. We are happy to report that both you and your husband make a good point.

First, as to whether red wines should be stored at room temperature whether opened or not, the answer is probably not, as room temperature today is usually around 22 degrees Celsius or 72 Fahrenheit, a little too warm. Ideal storage temperatures range between 10-15 degrees Celsius or 50-59 degrees Fahrenheit. These lower temperatures allow for wines to mature more slowing which many believe results in a wine of more complexity over time.

Once a bottle of wine is opened, whether red or white, the process of oxidation begins; the wine loses its freshness, its fruit and becomes stale. This chemical process or eventual deterioration of a wine can be delayed if stored in a cooler environment, such as the refrigerator.

In your husband’s defense, red wines, with their differing molecular structure and phenolics, do tend to stay fresher, longer, than do white wines, although both benefit from cool storage, before and after being opened. For maximum enjoyment red wines should definitely be taken out of the fridge a good 30 minutes before serving to allow the wine to show its best. Tannic wines in particular will be too stringent if too cold, and for your higher quality wines, the wonderful bouquet and the flavours won’t be as readily available if served too cold.

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