Having your temperature taken with a forehead temperature gun is common enough these days, whether you’re getting on a plane or entering a restaurant or office. It’s too bad there’s no infrared temperature gun that would tell you whether your bottle of wine is just the right temperature for drinking—just point and drink—but Australia’s Wakefield Wines has come up with the next best thing.
Wakefield, a family-owned winery in South Australia’s Clare Valley, has added a gauge to the labels of some of its wines that tells you when the wine is in the optimal temperature zone for serving. The Optimum Drinking Temperature Sensor, on the back of Wakefield’s Estate and Promised Land wines, is a bar with a spectrum of colours: green-yellow for white wines and purple-red for reds. It uses thermochromic ink technology that changes colour according to the temperature of the wine: green when the white or sparkling wine is at the right temperature and fuchsia for the red wines. The bar indicates whether the wine is in the right temperature zone or needs to be chilled or left to warm up.
The right serving temperature is important for the maximum enjoyment of wine—far more important that the glass used to drink it from. Yet, although many consumers spend a fortune on different glasses—one for chardonnay, another for riesling, yet another for pinot noir—no glass will compensate for drinking wine at the wrong temperature. Wines that are too warm tend to be flabby and coarse because the warmth accentuates the alcohol and suppresses the fruit and acidity. Wines served too cool highlight acidity and suppress the fruit flavours.
Yet too often wines are served, at home and in restaurants, either too cold or too warm. The idea that red wines should be served at room temperature is unhelpful because there’s no one room temperature. The notion arose when cellars in Europe were very cold (especially during the winter, when they could reach freezing point) and it was best to let wine warm up a little before drinking it. But no one then envisaged central heating that brought rooms to more than 20°C, far too warm for any wine, even though some restaurants display their wine on open shelves. As for wine served straight from the fridge (where the usual temperature is 3°C or 4°C), that is far too cold.
Wakefield suggests serving its Estate Chardonnay at 10–12°C and its Estate Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz at 16–18°C. Although some whites are recommended to be served cooler (such as lighter white wines at 7–10°C) the 8–10-degree recommended serving spectrum is much narrower than the 20 degrees that often separates the fridge from the room. Wakefield has an online taste test.
Wakefield is a founding member of Australia’s First Families of Wine, an association of 12 of the country’s most prestigious wine producers, all family-owned. Three Wakefield wines with the temperature sensor are:
Wakefield Estate Chardonnay 2018 (Clare Valley, South Australia)
Wakefield Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 (Clare Valley, South Australia)
Wakefield Estate Shiraz 2018 (Clare Valley, South Australia)
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