I’ve got a question for you. This may seem a little odd in light of this being a wine and dessert blog, but bear with me. At what temperature do you set your thermostat? Seriously, what temperature is “room temperature” for you? For me, if I loved alone, it would be about 78. I live with my sisters, who are apparently polar bears, so it’s at 74. They’re comfortable; I’m often in a sweatshirt and pants. The boyfriend sets his thermostat even colder, at 72. So what’s your “room temperature?”

The reason I ask about your thermostat is because we all know we’re supposed to drink red wine at room temperature, but if it’s different for all of us, how can we say room temperature is the right way to go?

Here’s the thing: Room temperature for red wine is NOT our individual room temperatures. The room temperature rule arose way back when there wasn’t central heat and A/C and wine was kept in actual cellars underground. It was a lot cooler in those cellars than it is in most people’s houses, so wine was drunk at significantly lower room temperatures than it is now. The “ideal” temperature for red wines is actually in the 50-65 degree range. I don’t know about you, but I would freeze if the room temperature in my house were this cold.

Does this mean you should keep all of your wine in the fridge from now on if you don’t have a wine cellar? No. Standard refrigerators are too cold for most people’s tastes (and for whites if you ask some people, but that’s a discussion for another day). However, it might not hurt to try throwing your bottle of red in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before opening it. Then, it’ll warm slightly as it breathes and will be the perfect temperature when you’re ready to drink it.

Not everyone will love this. Some people firmly believe their cabernet should be room temperature, regardless of whether that is 60 degrees or 80 degrees. But if you’re ready to at least dip your toes into chilling reds, go for it! You can do this with any red wine, but if you need some guidance, experts usually recommend lighter-bodied reds, like pinot noir, gamay (Beaujolais), and tempranillo. Personally, I think sangiovese and cabernet franc are really good with a slight chill. With cabernet franc in particular, the structure and flavor remain the same as when its warm, but it’s more refreshing and just seems like a better version of itself. With other wines, the flavors and texture might change some, so don’t be surprised by that.

At the end of the day, how you drink your reds is totally up to you. Try out a few options and go with what you like. If you want, microwave your wine! Actually, don’t, that soun-ds terrible. But you know what I mean. Wine drinking should be fun, so don’t get too caught up in the exact serving temperature. But if you haven’t tried red wine slightly chilled, go for it. You may discover you love it that way.

So what do you think? Are you a fan of chilled reds or do you prefer to stick with room temperature?

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