The other night, I put a bottle of J Vineyards Chardonnay in the fridge so we could enjoy it while watching our new favorite series on HBO Now, Bored to Death. It was not completely cold by the time we opened it and it was fantastic. The next night, when I had another glass and it was completely cold, it was not nearly as good.
My husband (who is extremely knowledgable about wine) commented that higher-end Chardonnays are best served at a warmer temperature than a typical refrigerator chills, and that the fruit really opens up when the wine is properly chilled, but not cold. He followed up by noting that “bad Chardonnays should be really cold so you can barely taste the fruit.” Oh.
How many glasses of Chardonnay have I enjoyed and not known this? Let’s not go there.
Curious, I googled it. Wine Spectator (a very reliable source, in my opinion) says the ideal temperature to serve Chardonnay is between 50 and 60 degrees.
The best temperature to store wine is 55 degrees, which is the natural temperature of caves, like the 27,000 square foot cave at Stags’ Leap Winery that does not require electricity. Most refrigerators range from 35 to 38 degrees, which is considerably cooler.
Then I declared that we needed to get a wine fridge, since we don’t have access to our own wine cave. If you lack a wine fridge or a wine cave also, it’s best to let the bottle or your glass sit out for a little while to bring it to the ideal temperature.