There are factors that may affect the taste of wine but temperature is perhaps one of the most important ones. For example, a bottle of wine place in a hot place or near a heat source could spoil it. To keep wine in optimal conditions, it should be kept in complete darkness and in a cool place between 12º and 15º, depending on the wine.
When wine is placed at the appropriate temperature, it will release its best aromas without ruining it. The right temperature will determine the way how the wine’s aromas and flavors are perceived by the palate. Aromatic wines, especially reds, have their aromas dormant when served at cooler temperatures. If served at a low temperature, those aromas will be not be released and the person drinking the wine will not be able to pick up the scents, which is as important as the taste.
Temperature changes may have detrimental effects on a wine’s taste. According to Wine Guardian, if there are constant temperature fluctuations, the wines will be compromised and may age prematurely. As the temperature in a bottle rises, the wine inside expands causes pressure in the bottle. If the pressure increases, a small amount of the wine’s aroma might escape through the cork. The opposite might happen as well. When the bottle is cooled back down, air will be sucked back in through the cork. The overall quality of the wine’s aroma might suffer.
If red wines are stored in a place with a temperature between 12º and 15º, only a few minutes will be needed to be able to open the bottle. These wines require a temperature somewhere between 14º to 18º. While the bottle is open, the wine temperature may increase a couple of degrees.
The ideal temperatures are:
- Young whites 8º C
- Sweet whites 6-8º C
- Barrel-aged whites 10-12º C
- Rosés 6-8 º C
- Young reds 12-14 º C
- Full-bodied reds 14-16 º C
- Crianza reds 18-20 º C
In the case of sweet wines, the high temperature enhances the sweetness, which can damage other qualities of the wine. Producers often advice to follow the indications on the label.
If a bottle of white wine or a rosé have been left outside the fridge, there might nonetheless be other alternatives to be able to drink it chilled. Although it is not advisable to subject a wine to a sudden change in temperature, it can be placed in a bucket with ice cubes. Another option may be gel coolers, which could also effective.
In terms of microorganisms, the Saccharomyces cerevisiae is inactive or has very low activity below 10–12 °C and shows maximum growth in grape must at around 35 °C, according to Agrovin. The presence of alcohol reduces the optimum temperature to 26–28 °C. Kloeckera is more active than Saccharomyces cerevisiae at temperatures of 4–10 °C, and is used during the cold maceration of must. Lactic bacteria require 16–18 °C to grow at a considerable rate. Acetic bacteria can persist at high temperatures, even in the presence of alcohol. Preserving wines at the appropriate low temperatures can reduce the growth of microorganisms.