by Fred McMillin
Pliny on Summer Sipping
Written in 1775 by Dr. Edward Barry, London physician. ("s" often written as "f")
Nero valued himfelf more on this improvement in luxury, than in [improving the] finer arts."
The Rest of the Story
Today, we can get that "intenfe degree of coldnefs" simply by putting the bottle in the frig. It will cool about 10 degrees an hour. To chill your Chardonnay, I suggest two hours, to put it down into the 50 degree range. Sitting on the table during the meal, again it will warm about 10 degrees an hour. (I've measured it.)
As for sparkling wines, chilling is more serious. I give it a full three hours. Pop the cork after only one hour and you'll lose half the wine in an uncontrollable eruption of foam. (Unfortunately, I've done that, too.)
I keep a sparkler in the frig to open when summer visitors drop in. It seems a bit more festive... it implies that their visit is something special. Here's the one that my panel liked a lot.
1992 Pacific Echo Private Reserve Brut
Sir Edward Barry tells of another early devotee of cold wine. He "directed thirty pits to be made as refervoirs for fnow, which were covered with ftraw, to defend it againft the external air; with this his Wine...was cooled." Who was it? Alexander the Great. (pictured)
Note: For more about Pacific Echo, see the March 25,1999 WineDay titled "The Explosive Start of American Champagne", with Gorbachev and Pres. Reagan pictured hoisting ECHO.
Credits: Research Asst. Diane Bulzomi; Book Sleuth Gail Unzelman
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