Bad news, Australian wine lovers. Apparently we’ve been drinking the odd glass of plonk completely wrong all these years.
Australians are fond of the odd class, or seven, from time to time. But while we may be known as beer guzzlers, wine may now be our national drink of choice.
We drink it on winery tours in the Barossa Valley, we buy it as a gift when we don’t know what else to get, and for some, it’s the perfect addition to a quiet night in or a nice accompaniment to a picnic on the weekend.
But for those with a particular penchant for plonk, this might be hard to take in. Apparently we’ve been drinking it all wrong, especially when it comes to red wine.
When you order a glass of wine at a restaurant, do you ask for it to be served on ice? No? Well, that’s the problem right there.
According to local wine producer Taylors, 80 per cent of Australians drink their wine at room temperature. Now, that would be fine, except sometimes room temperature can get up to a stifling 30 degrees C in some parts of the country, and that just won’t do when it comes to a fine glass of wine.
If we were drinking our glasses of red in Europe, on the other hand, then leaving a bottle at room temperature would be fine, because on average, it’d probably be a brisk 14 degrees C.
But can this difference in temperature actually pose a threat to the taste and quality of your favourite bottle? Absolutely! The temperature a bottle of wine is kept at can drastically affect how it matures.
“The reason for this is the organic reactions that take place in the wine are governed by some basic laws of chemistry, including one that says reactions occur more quickly as temperature increases,” says WineMinder.
“In fact, these reaction typically double in speed for every 10 degrees increase in temperature. So add 10 degrees and the rate doubles; add another 10 and it’s four times as high as before.”
If the wine is stored at excessively high temperatures, over 30 degrees C, for example, the wine can actually be completely ruined within just hours. Those bottles of red wine are not going to last an Australia summer unless they’re in the fridge, that’s for sure.
If drinking chilled red wine is a bit hard for you to swallow, then perhaps try these crisp wine varieties. They’re not as robust as your Bordeaux and might just be light enough to get you to give it a try.
- Tempranillo: Tempranillo is an early-ripened variety which is light on the palate, given its low acidity and sugar levels.
- Beaujolais: Hailing from the Beaujolais wine region in the southeast of France, Beaujolais red wine has a fruity taste and is best served at around 12 degrees C.
- Shiraz: With spicy and peppery notes mixed with full-bodied depth and a hint of sweetness, shiraz tastes delicious chilled too.
But really, it all comes down to personal taste. Pop a bottle of your favourite red wine into an ice bucket, and see if you prefer it served chilled.