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Aug 29, 2012 01:02 PM

Squaring Decanting vs Correct Temperature for Serving Red Wine?

As I've recently started to get into wines more seriously lately (got my first wine refrigerator on the way from Beverage Factory), I've been doing a lot of a reading up and I can't seem to square decanting red wine with the correct temperature for serving it (62-65 degrees). If I decant a red for an hour after taking it out of my wine frig (when it finally gets here!), where it's been sitting at 55 degrees won't it be too warm by the time the decanting is done? I don't want this get sidelined into a conversation about whether wine should be decanted or not, I just can't square one with the other and hope that those with more experience in this area can provide an answer. I've also read that some folks decant especially young wines for a longer period, so it seems impossible to maintain the "correct" serving temperature. I have yet to see this addressed anywhere. Thanks all!

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  1. If if is markedly warmer than 65 degrees in your home, then yes it will warm up fast. People counter this by doing all sorts of things (sticking the wine in the fridge for a few minutes, putting it on ice etc.). The correct temperature to serve red wine is not scientific and depending on the type of red wine a few degrees warmer or cooler isn't something to really worry about.

    1. Hello ChessMonkey, if you remove your wine and decant it 30 mins before serving, it will work. I'd even say it works if you remove it up to an hour before serving. I'm not sure why it works, but I know it does since I have served literally hundreds (perhaps thousands) of bottles this way, and never a single remark that the wine was too warm. Some of the people I have poured wine for would not hesitate to speak up if they felt there was the slightest problem with the wine. I have also seen winemakers pull a bottle out of the cooler and let it come to room temperature for 30 mins to an hour. Most room temperatures are somewhere in the 70s, I would guess, so a bottle pulled from a temperature somewhere in the 50s is not going to warm up all that fast. I think Goldang's explanation is right on, the correct temperature is not something to worry over unless it gets really hot. By the way, my problem has always been forgetting to pull a bottle soon enough and thus be facing a cold bottle. Now that's a problem, and everyone is sitting around cupping their glass trying to get it up to temperature. Hope this helps some.

      1. If it's particularly hot, refrigerate the (empty) decanter to add some extra "buffer" to the temperature increase. That said, 750ml is a lot of liquid to warm up (or cool down) and 30-60 minutes won't bring the wine to 75 or whatever. 3-4 hours probably would.

        1. OK, so first, keep in mind that not even the LAPD's infamous SWAT team will burst through your front door for failing to serve a wine at the right temperature . . . . ;^)

          I think you're over-thinking this. I've spent 35+ years of my life working for wineries, importers, retailers -- and I've honestly never thought or worried about "decanting vs. temperature" -- it's kind of a non-issue, IMHO.

          Unless, I suppose, you like in the tropics or the desert.

          Generally speaking, my wines are stored at the "proper" temperature (55°F, +/- 2-3°). So reds generally need to "warm up" a bit. If it's an older wine, I will decant it to remove the sediment, and (generally) serve it within 10-15 minutes. Temperature is no problem. If it's a wine of average age with no sediment, I open it and serve it. If it's a young wine that's not ready to drink, I generally don't open it . . . .

          Some wines -- think Beaujolais, Côtes-du-Rhône, many Zinfandels -- don't need decanting at all.

          If the wine is too warm after decanting, just stick the decanter in the fridge . . . .

          1 Reply
          1. re: zin1953

            <<Unless, I suppose, you like in the tropics or the desert.>>

            Well, being in Arizona, after living in New Orleans, I do head to the 'fridge a bit. Personally, I would always rather serve the wine, initially a tad too cool, as one can always place their hands on the bowl, or let it sit for a nanosecond in the AZ heat...


            PS - I more often have to cup my glass of white (away from my home and cellar), as those are almost always served too cold.

          2. "If I decant a red for an hour" then you are pouring too slowly.

            Sorry, pet language peeve of mine.

            When wine is sitting in a decanter, it is not decanting nor being decanted, it has been decanted and the decanting process is over.

            Decanting is pouring liquid from one container to another. With wine specifically, it is pouring carefully from one container to another in order to remove any sediments from the wine by leaving the sediments in the original container.

            If one does this three hours before dinner, one is not decanting wine for three hours.

            Pet peeve, that's all.

            "correct temperature for serving it (62-65 degrees)." Do you know if you ever serve wine in this temperature range and if so how do you know>