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What’s the Best 15-Inch Wide Wine Fridge? – Wine Cooler Reviews

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Looking for the best wine fridge to fit into a 15-inch wide space under your counter top? Let’s review all the top 15-inch width wine cooler models.

Often it’s easy to narrow down your home appliance choices simply based on the amount of room you have available. A wine fridge is a great addition to any kitchen, especially when you install a built-in model under your counter top to fit seamlessly with your cabinets. When remodeling your kitchen, you might decide to remove an old trash compactor unit, for example, and find yourself left with exactly 15 inches of horizontal space to fill. Naturally you’re only going to focus on the wine refrigerators that fit to your specific size requirements.

Luckily for you, fifteen inches is a popular size for wine fridge manufacturers to use, and there are a number of quality models available. These range in capacity from 23-30 bottles and include both single-zone and dual-zone configurations.

The 6 models that we’ll review here all belong to the compressor cooling technology group of wine coolers. As opposed to thermoelectric coolers, these compressor models can reliably chill down to temperatures as low as 40 degrees F without any risk of fluctuations due to increases in ambient room temperature.

Powerful cooling doesn’t exactly come cheap. It’s worth a small investment for something you can trust your precious wine collection to. The least expensive of these models comes in at just under $600, and the priciest is a bit over $900. Is the most expensive one worth the extra $300? Or would you be better off going with the cheapest of these 15-inch wide options? Let’s look at these 6 cooling units in detail so that you’re informed and better equipped to make a purchasing decision.

Allavino VSWR30-2SSRN 30 Bottle Dual-Zone Wine Refrigerator w/ Towel Bar Handle

Allavino VSWR30-2SSRN 30 Bottle Dual-Zone Wine Refrigerator w_ Towel Bar Handle

Product Details

Allavino gives us the most expensive of the 15-inch wide wine fridges, but it’s also possibly the most attractive of the lot. It features a 30 bottle capacity with special shelving that is designed to achieve this amount of storage while accommodating a wide range of wine bottle shapes. Only larger Pinot Noir and Champagne bottles are going to cause you to lose out on storage capacity.

Dual-zone cooling compartments allow temperature ranges of 41-60 degrees Fahrenheit for the upper zone and 45-64 degrees Fahrenheit for the lower zone. Unlike some other dual-zone coolers, the two zones can’t be set to the same temperature in this model. Rather the lower zone must be at least 4 degrees warmer.

Aesthetically, the Allavino looks good in stainless steel with a towel bar style handle. To be perfectly honest, all of the wine fridge models that we’re looking at here have a similar appearance with stainless steel and black exteriors to be par for the course. It’s mostly the style of the handle and details of the shelving that set them apart from each other.

The main advantage of this model is the flexibility of bottle shapes and sizes that the shelving can accommodate without sacrificing storage capacity. On the other hand, the fact that the lower temperature zone must be set warmer than the top zone can prove limiting. This is especially true when you consider that the shelf intended to hold champagne sized bottles is in the bottom zone. One would think that you’d want to chill these to a cooler temperature, so I would call this a major design flaw that could probably have been avoided with a little bit more thought.

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Pros and Cons

  • Accommodates many bottle shapes/sizes
  • Stylish handle
  • Dual-zone cooling
  • Lower zone must be warmer than upper zone
  • Most expensive model

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Avallon 23 Bottle 15″ Dual Zone Built-In Wine Cooler

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Product Details

The Avallon 15-inch wide dual-zone cooler is also a bit more on the expensive side. You can see from the construction of the shelving where some of the extra cost is factored in. The wooden shelves have stainless steel trim and smoothly roll out supported by telescoping braces.

The manufacturer only claims that it has a 23 bottle capacity. This is the smallest amount of all of the models here, but in fairness some of the other wine fridges can only get their advertised 30 bottle capacity when using all regular Bordeaux shaped wine bottles.

The upper cooling zone has a temperature range of 54 – 65°F, while the lower zone can be set to 40 – 54°F. This configuration makes a little bit more sense than the Allavino unit because the lowest shelf, which can accommodate wider bottles, is in the cooler zone, where you’d naturally store champagne. And if you are the type to drink only reds, you can still set both zones at the same temperature of 54 degrees.

If you want the two zones set to different temperatures, then keep in mind that the upper (red wine) zone can only hold a maximum 8 bottles.

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Pros and Cons

  • Available in Left or Right hinge model variations
  • Smallest capacity at 23 bottles max
  • Dual-zone cooling
  • Roll-out stainless steel trimmed wooden shelves
  • Upper zone 54 – 65°F, lower zone 40 – 54°F

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EdgeStar 30 Bottle Stainless Steel Built-In Wine Cooler

EdgeStar 30 Bottle Stainless Steel Built-In Wine Cooler

Product Details

This is the first single-zone cooler that we’ll look at. These are generally nice to have if you’re the type of person who predominantly drinks only red or white wine, but usually not both.

The temperature can be set within a range of 40-65 degrees F. With this model, though, you will usually need to set the temperature to 2 degrees lower than the actual temperature you want to achieve or it will never get down that low. This seems to me to be an engineering flaw. If the device consistently fails to reach the desired temperature then the manufacturer should have calibrated the difference into the temperature controls to eliminate confusion.

This is the lest expensive of the six models that we’re looking at. The wooden shelves simply slide out, rather than rolling out like on the Avallon model. If you have any wider than normal bottles, you’ll need to remove shelves to accommodate them, and this will reduce the fridges total capacity. If you’re not using all standard Bordeaux bottles then 26 would probably be a more realistic capacity, assuming none of the bottles are wide enough to warrant removing a shelf.

The bigger issue is with the quality of the product. Some users have reported that the compressor begins to fail after 8-12 months of use. Repairing it typically entails a bill nearly equal to the price of the fridge. So remember that when you buy the cheapest model, you’re not always getting the best value. If it needs replacing after a year, then it suddenly becomes the most expensive model in relative terms.

EdgeStar 30 Bottle Stainless Steel Built-In Wine Cooler-door-open

Pros and Cons

  • Can run noisy
  • Single-zone cooling
  • 30 Bottle capacity
  • Least expensive model
  • Compressor durability issues

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EdgeStar Dual-Zone Stainless Steel Built-In Wine Cooler

EdgeStar Dual-Zone Stainless Steel Built-In Wine Cooler

Product Details

EdgeStar has a second wine cooler model that fits the same 15-inch wide size category. The main difference between this one and the previous model is the dual-zone cooling configuration. Two separate refrigeration compartments allow you to chill various wines to different temperatures. The obvious use for this type of model is in order to cool red wines to a modest 54-65 degrees F while chilling white wines down to the 40-54 degrees F range.

The ability to control temperatures in two different cooling zones comes with a small price to pay. The overall cost of the unit comes out to approximately $100 more expensive than EdgeStar’s single-zone model. In addition to this, the divider between the two cooling zones takes up the same height as one row of shelving. This leaves you with space for six fewer bottles, so that the total maximum capacity is 26 standard sized wine bottles compared to 30 bottles in the single-zone model.

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One limitation of this model when compared to other dual-zone wine fridges is the relatively small capacity of the upper storage zone. The configuration of this EdgeStar dual-zone fridge is such that the upper zone can hold a maximum 8 bottles, and that may be generous. Five bottles in the upper zone is more likely based on the design.

If you tend to drink white wine more frequently, then this might work out well for you. But many wine collectors will feel that this model doesn’t provide ample space for their red wine.

Pros and Cons

  • Runs on the louder side
  • Reversible door
  • Dual-zone cooling
  • 8 bottle upper zone, 18 bottle lower zone
  • More expensive than the single-zone model

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Kalamera 15″ Wide 30 Bottle Built-In Wine Cooler

Kalamera 15" Wide 30 Bottle Built-In Wine Cooler

Product Details

Kalamera makes a number of great wine refrigerators, and this 15-inch wide model with a 30 bottle capacity is no exception. Like the others here, this unit features a stainless steel and black exterior look. Inside, we have 6 slide-out beech wood shelves. There’s a bit of extra space on the bottom row for wider bottles if you choose.

The shelves seem a little lightweight, but the overall operation of this wine fridge is quite reliable.

Like many wine refrigerators, you are only going to reach the maximum bottle capacity under ideal conditions—using all standard sized Bordeaux shaped bottles. Using bottles with a mix of shapes and sizes will cause you to fall short of the 30 bottle maximum, but you should still have enough space in this unit for a modest collection. The fact that this is a single-zone cooler means you get a little extra space too.

One really helpful feature of this model is a temperature memory function. This means that, in the case of a power outage, the wine fridge can return to the temperature you had it set to rather than a default temperature. With many other wine fridges, people have run into trouble because the fridge defaults to a factory-set temperature after a brief power outage rather than the cooler temperature that the owner had it set to. In some cases it has caused people’s wine collections to get ruined. But you won’t have that problem with this Kalamera model.

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Pros and Cons

  • Temperature memory protects wine after a power outage
  • Single-zone cooling
  • 30 bottle max capacity
  • Reliable cooling
  • Slide-out wooden shelves slightly flimsy

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NewAir AWR-290DB 29 Bottle Compressor Wine Cooler

NewAir AWR-290DB 29 Bottle Compressor Wine Cooler

Product Details

The last model that we’ll look at is another dual-zone cooler. In this case, NewAir has put the section intended for white wine on the top. The upper section can be set to 40-50 degrees Fahrenheit. It can hold a maximum of 10 bottles with 5 on each of two shelves. The nice thing about the design of this model is that there is extra space above the top shelf, so that it would be able to accommodate wide bottles for Champagne or Chardonnay, etc.

Meanwhile, the lower section can be set to 50-66 degrees Fahrenheit. It is a little larger with regular sized selves and a third shelf on the bottom with enough vertical space to stack up two rows of bottles on top of each other. You could also use this lowest shelf for wide Pinot Noir bottles, etc. At most, you could fit about 19 bottles in the lower zone.

I think this configuration is one of the best in a dual-zone wine fridge as it gives more space for your red wines, which you’d typically want to collect more of.

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Pros and Cons

  • Dual-zone cooling
  • Most logical dual-zone arrangement
  • Least expensive dual-zone model
  • Reliable compressor
  • Runs very quietly

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Summary

My overall recommendation depends on whether you want a single-zone or dual-zone cooler. If you’re in the market for a single-zone wine fridge, then I recommend buying the Kalamera 15″ Wine Cooler. It’s attractive, reliable, and rather affordable at under $600 currently.

If you’re looking for a dual-zone cooler, I think the best value is with the NewAir AWR-290DB Wine Cooler. Not only is it the least expensive of the dual-zone coolers, but it also runs quietly and reliably, and the two cooling zones are arranged in the most logical manner.

On the other hand, if you want something a little more fancy looking, the Avallon Dual-Zone Wine Cooler has slick roll-out shelves with stainless steel trimming. If the relatively small red wine zone is not an issue for you, then you just have to determine if the extra cost for the fancier shelves is worth it to you.

Best Wine Refrigerator Under $500 – Kalamera 12-Inch 18-Bottle Built-in Wine Cooler Review

Are you looking for the best wine refrigerator under $500? Many people can see the value in purchasing a wine fridge to keep their vino cooled to the right temperature, but at the same time find their budget limited to around $500. If this sounds like you, then you should take a good look at the Kalamera 12-Inch 18-Bottle Wine Cooler which can be used either built-in under a counter or freestanding. in my opinion, this is the best wine fridge you’ll find for less than five Ben Franklin’s.

Just have a look at this compact, gorgeous, and highly-functional thing of beauty…

Best wine refrigerator under $500, kalamera 12-inch 18-bottle wine coolerAs you can see, this is a very slick, modern-looking model that will complement just about any kitchen decor. Now let’s get a rundown of the Kalamera’s features and functionality.




  • Fits in 12-inch wide space. Exact dimension are 11.6″ wide x 33.9″ high x 22.4″ deep (without handle). The handle is designed to protrude another 2 inches from the front surface of your cabinets.
  • Built-in or Freestanding. It was designed with a built-in under-the-counter use in mind. But you could just as easily set it up somewhere in your home as a freestanding unit.
  • Compressor cooling. This model makes use of a compressor cooling system that can reliably cool down to 40°F regardless of ambient room temperature.
  • Easy to use single-zone touch controls. This single-zone cooler model chills the interior to an even temperature, which can be precisely controlled using the digital touch controls. A temperature range of 40-66°F is possible.
  • Attractive styling. The Kalamera has a stainless steel door, a double-layered tempered glass window, and beech wood sliding racks.
  • Temperature memory function. When you have a brief power outage, the cooler remembers the temperature it was set to, saving your wine from going to a default temp that may not be ideal.
  • 18-bottles capacity. This model holds up to 18 standard-sized Bordeaux 750ml wine bottles. There are six beech wood shelves, each holding three bottles.
  • Accommodates some larger bottles. Without removing any of the shelves to accommodate wider shaped wine bottles, there is some extra space above the lowest shelf to fit a few of these larger sized bottles in.
  • Security lock. So the kiddos won’t raid your wine collection.

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Who is the Kalamera 18-Bottle Wine Cooler for?

The Kalamera 18-Bottle Wine Cooler is a great choice for a regular wine drinker or casual wine collector. If you frequently drink wine you’ll want to be able to store a modest amount at home. This way you can have your choice of wines to go with whatever meal you happen to be in the mood for.

If you don’t have a lot a space in your kitchen to dedicate to a wine fridge, this model should do nicely. At just 12 inches in width, it can fit into all sorts of places, including a small slot under the counter.

If you live somewhere with a warm climate, then a compressor type of cooler might make more sense than a thermoelectric one. You can probably find a cheaper thermoelectric cooler with a similar capacity as this one, but the cooling power of such a model may be limited by the ambient temperature of your home. Compressor coolers aren’t at the mercy of external temps in the same way, and they can easily maintain cooling down to 40°F.

Who is the Kalamera 18-Bottle Wine Cooler NOT for?

If you’re a very serious wine collector, then a capacity of 18 bottles might be a serious limitation. Maybe Kalamera’s 30-Bottle Wine Cooler would be of more interest to you.

Likewise, if you’re shopping for a wine fridge to furnish a busy restaurant, then you’ll want something much bigger.

Those who really strongly desire a dual-zone wine cooler would be another group that will not be totally satisfied with owning this single-zone model. It is great for keeping all your bottles at one standard temperature for storage or ideal drinking temperature for your favorite type. But it won’t be the model to get if you want to keep reds and whites at two different temps, for example.

Should you buy it?

If you’ve made up your mind to get a smaller sized wine fridge, you should definitely consider this one. It quickly and quietly cools down to the set temperature. It looks beautiful in your kitchen. It won’t take up much space, especially with only 12 inches of horizontal space. The temperature memory function can save your precious wine collection if the power goes out temporarily during a thunderstorm or some similar event while you are away.

18 bottles will last you two whole months of drinking a couple of botles of wine per week. If you keep wine for the purpose of actually drinking it—and not just collecting it for some rainy day that never comes—then you’ll find this capacity to be more than sufficient. The bit of extra space on the lowest shelf to hold wider bottles such as Pinot Noir is a nice bonus feature of this model. All-in-all, I’d say it’s a great value and a sound investment for anyone who really enjoys wine drinking.

And this Wine Cooler sells for less than $500

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5 Unusual Chianti Food Pairings – This Italian Wine isn’t Just For Pizza

When you hear about Chianti food pairings, it has the reputation of a standard Italian red wine that you drink casually with a meal at your favorite pizza parlor. As a medium-bodied red wine often popping with lip-smacking red fruits on your taste buds, it naturally does go great with nearly any type of Italian cuisine including ravioli, lasagne, various other pastas, smoked salmon, and of course pizza. But those aren’t the only foods that Chianti pairs well with. It’s such an easy to drink wine that it matches up excellently with a wide variety of foods.

First of all, what is Chianti exactly? One confusing aspect of many Italian and French wines for wine beginners is that they are named for the region of production, not the grape variety. In this case, Chianti is a wine-growing region located in the central area of Tuscany, Italy. By law, for any wine to be labelled “Chianti” it must not only be grown in the region but also must consist of at least 80% Sangiovese grapes.

Sangiovese is a grape with a long history. It is thought to have been cultivated during the days of the Roman Empire, and has been documented as far back as the sixteenth century. Wines made with Sangiovese tend to have medium tannins and high acidity, with a flavor profile dominated by red fruits such as cherries. Chianti and other Sangiovese-based wines are usually fruity, tart and zesty. It’s not an acquired taste for stuffy old men sipping leather-scented Bordeaux and nibbling moldy cheese. Rather, Chianti hits your tongue with an explosion of flavor from the first taste, goes down smooth, and before you know it you’ll be on your third glass.




I encourage you to not be so strict in wine-food pairing. Wine is meant to be enjoyed, and you should feel free to drink your favorite wines together with your favorite dishes, whatever they may be. If it tastes good to you nobody can say you’re wrong. That said, here are five unconventional food pairings for Chianti and other Sangiovese wines that I think you’ll enjoy.

1. Thai Food

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I’m a huge fan of Thai food, having spent a lot of time in Thailand. For the record I can tell you that most of the Thai food served at Thai restaurants overseas is nowhere near as good as the genuine article they serve up in Thailand, but nevertheless, Thai cuisine has carved out a spot as one of the most famous and recognized national cuisines globally.

Thai food is famous for liberal use of hot chili peppers. It’s a toss up between Thai and South Indian for the spiciest national cooking style. So right off the bat you’re going to want a beverage that will go down easy and quench your thirst. Chianti has a low to moderate alcohol level, usually around 12% by volume. This is important when eating really spicy food because you’ll tend to drink a little more, and Chianti lets you do that without getting overly tipsy.

Thai food is not only spicy though. Properly cooked Thai dishes have a very nice balance of spicy, sour, sweet, and salty flavors. Chianti’s fruity pop adds into this mix of tastes quite well. Try it with stir-fried pork and basil, red curry, and Pad Thai.

2. Mexican Food

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Mexican food has an overall flavor profile sitting somewhere in the middle of Italian and Thai cuisines. On the one hand, Mexican dishes contain lots of tomato, cheese, and starches just like Italian food. On the other hand, Mexicans also love their chili peppers to give food a little fire on your tongue, much like Thai cuisine.

Pop open a bottle of Chianti Classico next time you serve up sizzling grilled chicken fajitas, enchiladas, or belly-buster bean burritos.

3. Chocolate and Cherries

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Here’s a pro-tip for a quiet, romantic, late-night get-together with your sweetheart. Wine goes great with various snack foods, and it doesn’t have to be stinky European cheeses either. I enjoy drinking a bottle of red wine late in the evening along with some sort of fruit and a few chocolates.

Cherries work particularly well with Chianti because it’s a flavor that comes out in the wine itself. So the two match up like heaven. Add some chocolate for a little extra sweetness on the tongue to balance the tangy acidity of the Sangiovese grapes. Dark or milk chocolate is up to your preference. My favorites are the moderately dark chocolates with around 70% cocoa.

4. North Indian Food

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North Indian food is the style that is served most often in Indian restaurants overseas. Like some of the other cooking styles I’ve mentioned above, North Indian dishes use lots of spicy chilies and tomato-based sauces. So naturally, Chianti wine would be a good match.

Particularly good are any dishes made with paneer, which is a type of Indian cheese. It’s usually cut into cubes and mixed into a vegetarian curry in place of meat. I’d suggest a paneer masala curry if you’re new to it. Another great North Indian dish to go with Chianti wine is dal makhani, a rich bean-based curry that is cooked using lots of cream.

5. Sushi

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Yes, you can enjoy red wine with your sushi. There is no law that says you must only drink sake. Contemporary sushi matches up well because of the increased variety of flavors when ingredients like cream cheese are included. Fruity red wine also hits the spot right after setting your brain on fire from too much wasabi.

Three types of sushi that will go great with Chianti are tamago-sushi (sweet egg on a bed of rice), California rolls (with that creamy avocado goodness), and salmon sashimi (a little slice of heaven).




Last Bit of Chianti Advice

Remember to serve your Chianti wine at the proper temperature. Right around 59 degrees F (or 15 C) is ideal. Pick out a good value wine cooler to keep in your kitchen so you’ve always got your wines stored at the optimal coolness. It’s a subtle difference between a too-warm bottle of Chianti and one that is cooled down slightly, but it’s one that you’ll come to appreciate.

Guide to Wine Serving Temperature

Why is wine serving temperature important to get right? Over the ages, wine connoisseurs have discovered that different kinds of wine are better enjoyed at different temperatures. Just like with any other food fare, this makes complete sense. For example, you wouldn’t want to eat a cold hamburger or drink a hot beer, and the same principal holds true here as well. In fact, the temperature of the wine can have just as much effect on the taste as almost anything else, sometimes in a remarkable way.

Even though you’ll sometimes hear differing opinions on the subject, there are still some great rules of thumb when it comes to serving temperature for your favorite wine. In almost every case, you also don’t need to use your regular refrigerator to chill your wine unless you need some extra-special chilling. Instead, a wine cellar-cooler can do the trick nicely. And along with this guide, you’ll know exactly what temperature to serve your wine at. This will lead to a better and more enjoyable experience for all.




Full Bodied Red Wines – 62-64°F (17-18°C)

Cabernet Sauvignon, Bordeaux, Shiraz

Cabernet Sauvignon
As a full-bodied red, Cabernet Sauvignon should be served at about 62 degrees Fahrenheit. This helps enhance and complement its full body, but there’s a bit more to it than just that. While you may hear that serving it at room temperature is the way to go, a slight chill is perfect for this one’s acidity.

Medium Bodied Red Wines – 57-61°F (14-16°C)

Burgundy, Sangiovese, Chianti, Zinfandel, Merlot, Pinot Noir

Merlot
The ever well-known Merlot is best served at around 57 degrees Fahrenheit and you can even dabble in a little higher, say around 60 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature not only compliments that body of this one, but is best for bringing out the deep cherry flavors that make it popular.

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Light Bodied Red Wines – 50-54°F (10-12°C)

Beaujolais, Bardolino

Bardolino
This light, fruity Italian red wine benefits from a slightly cooler temperature than most reds. The acidity becomes more prominent, while the alcohol taste is slightly diminished.

Full Bodied White Wines – 50-54°F (10-12°C)

Oaked Chardonnay, White Burgundy

White Burgundy
With its rich, complex flavor White Burgundy is best served at a warmer temperature than standard white wines. You can go as high as 54 degrees F, putting it at the same temperature range as light bodied reds.

Medium Bodied White Wines – 48-52°F (9-11°C)

Chardonnay, Chablis, Semillon

Chardonnay
For this tasty white wine, a cooler setting is needed. Go for temperatures around 48 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit to capture everything about this bottle. Whether it has an oak-forward taste or more citrus notes, the dryness is well appreciated in this cooler temperature zone.

Full Bodied Dessert Wines – 46-54°F (8-12°C)

Oloroso Sherry, Madeira

Madeira
This is one of those sweet red wines that pairs best with desserts. For a young Madeira, a good serving temperature to aim for is 54 degrees F. In the case of a more mature bottle, the complex flavors could benefit from letting it warm up slightly higher even.

Light Bodied White Wines – 43-46°F (6-8°C)

Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio

Riesling
Like many other dessert-style wines, Riesling should be chilled to about 46 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature is right for enhancing the flowery notes, but also the higher acidity of the wine. This is also the right temperature area to add that degree of balance between the acidity and the sugar that make this wine famous.

Pinot Grigio
This popular white is also best served around the mid-40 degree Fahrenheit range. Aim for a steady 45 degrees Fahrenheit to really draw out its crispness, but also its clean apple notes that give it its distinct flavor. You’ll also find that a better focus on the crispness of Pinot Grigio is present in this temperature range.

Sauvignon Blanc
As a light white wine that also has many citrus notes, Sauvignon Blanc should also be chilled to 45 degrees Fahrenheit. Like with our Pinot Grigio, this temperature is better at drawing out the more citrus aspects of this wine without sacrificing any of the dryness that defines it.

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White Sparkling Wines – 43-46°F (6-8°C)

Champagne
This choice is probably the one that gets the most questions. How cold is too cold when it comes to champagne? A nice, chill 43 degrees Fahrenheit is best for really showing off the qualities of the drink in its fullness. Even though there are many varieties of champagne, this lower temperature really highlights the effervescence of any bottle.

Light Bodied Dessert Wines – 43-50°F (6-10°C)

Trockenbeerenauslese, Sauternes

Sauternes
This sweet white wine from the Bordeaux region can best be enjoyed at a serving temperature of 45 degrees F. It should be chilled, but don’t serve it directly from the refrigerator. Instead, allow about 15 minutes for it to breathe after uncorking the bottle. This gives the complex flavors time to develop.

The easiest way to serve wine at the proper temperature is to keep it stored in a dedicated wine refrigerator. While you could try popping a bottle in your regular food fridge for 20-60 minutes to try to cool it down, this isn’t really the best method. It’s always going to be a guessing game as to whether you’ve cooled your wine down to the right temp. The best wine fridge models, on the other hand, all have digital temperature settings to get the temperature precise.

If you mainly stick to one favorite type of wine, then a single zone wine cooler will be sufficient. But if you’d like to store both red and white wine at their respective serving temperatures, then you should consider a dual zone cooler with individual digitally controlled cooling areas.

As a final note, don’t be afraid to step a degree or two outside some of these temperature ranges. While the general rules hold fairly constant, every year and vintage can differ slightly. At the end of the day, trusting your palette is what makes wine drinking one of the best experiences in the world.




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Wine Tasting for Dummies – How to Understand Wine Reviews

When you’re new to wine tasting, it can sometimes feel like you’re entering a whole other world. Varietals, vintage years, viticulture. There are so many terms to learn, and that’s just a few starting with “V”! The list goes on and on and can often seem never-ending. Wine reviews also appear like they’re packed full of jargon and complex analysis. Even when you have the wine they’re reviewing already poured in front of you, it’s easy to get lost in it all. How do you manage to keep up?

Never fear, because we’re going to walk through wine tasting step-by-step. We’ll learn about understanding wine terms like those above.

Armed with this guide, you’ll be able to talk at length about what you love best (and least) of all the wines you taste.

Not only that, you’ll be able to read those wine reviews with ease.

Next time you have your favorite varietal (a wine created from one type of grape), you’ll know if it’s a vintage year (grapes mostly grown and harvested in a specific year) and the viticulture (the science of growing grapes for wine) that made it happen.




Putting Your Next Wine Tasting into Perspective

While you’ll see many reviews that have new terms and ways of looking at wine, you’ll want to keep things in perspective. Wine tasting is absolutely about a personal journey.

What this means is that every person has different perspectives and experiences. Although there’s plenty of overlap, it’s not about knowing it all. Instead, it’s about sharing the knowledge and growing in your understanding of wine.

At the same time, never be afraid to go out on a limb and try something new or look at things from a different angle. If you’re tasting something particular in a wine, speak up and let others know. You’ll find that being open minded like this leads to everyone having a better experience.

Determining a Wine’s Appearance

dark-grapes-wine-glass-bottleLet’s starting at one of the easiest places when it comes to wine: how it looks. You probably know that there’s red and white wines, but appearance goes a bit further. Even though this aspect of tasting is often overlook, it remains an important one.

After you’ve ensured that you have a crystal clear glass and proper light, pour your favorite wine and note a few things about it. For example, you’ll see wine reviews talk about the depth of the color. What is the opacity or clarity of the color?

While some tasters often won’t include color strictly in appearance, it’s perfectly fine to ask what the exact color of the wine is. You’ll also want to watch the wine’s legs, or in other terms, the way it clings to the glass when swirling it. It’s also possible to determine the wine’s age, as reds will steer more brown with years and whites will become darker in appearance.

Taking on a Wine’s Aroma

The first big term to learn when enjoying the aroma of your wine is “on the nose.” Put simply, it’s how the wine affects your sense of smell alone, separate from the tongue. Another important term is bouquet. Both of these are meant to capture the entire experience of the aroma.

Before you sip, enjoy how the wine’s aroma interacts with your senses. If necessary, let the wine breathe, which is the process of leaving the wine exposed to the open air. Many additional terms are meant to describe the complexity of the aroma. For example, a dense aroma is one that possess concentrated smells, while a subtle aroma might be more muted.

Going Beyond Mere Taste

As we move on to actually tasting your wine, there are a few more essential terms to know. While you’ll hear intuitive flavor words like cherry, currant, or tobacco, there’s more than just flavor to note when the wine is in your mouth.

Probably the three biggest are the body, the mouthfeel, and whether or not a wine is long in the finish.

We’ll start with the body. For every wine, there is an impression of how full the wine is. You can think of this one exactly like you do weight, ranging from heavy, full-bodied wines to less full, lighter bodied wines.

On mouthfeel, you’ll find that it’s all about how the texture of the wine manifests on your palette. Is it soft or fat? Or perhaps it’s chewy or meaty?

Often, these sensation are influenced by either the acidity of the wine or the wine’s tannins, which are a puckering agent that comes mostly from the skin and seeds.

Finally, the length of a wine’s finish is an important way of measuring its quality. Terms like short, medium, or long are often used, but the main point is that the final finishing tastes linger in a healthy, delicious way.

For your wine tasting experience, this guide is just the start. But now, you’ll be able to understand those wine reviews that you love to read. Best of all, you’ll also have a more enhanced experience when you enjoy that next bottle of red or white.

FireBird 28-Bottle Freestanding Thermoelectric Wine Cooler Review

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If you are the type of person who looks forward to a glass of wine at the end of a busy day, you know how important it is to keep that bottle at the right temperature. A wine that is too warm or too cold could ruin the entire experience. Subtle notes and fragrances only come out when the wine is stored properly.

A good wine cooler is essential to making sure your wine is always presented the right way. The 28-Bottle Freestanding Thermoelectric Wine Cooler by Firebird is one possible choice for all those who love their wine. This review will go over all the features of this product so you can decide for yourself if it is for you.

Product Details

The developers at Firebird realize the important role temperature plays in a good glass of wine. They have equipped their cooler with an easily accessible touch pad for temperature control. The clear display on the LED screen lets you know that the cooler is always at the correct setting.

The thermoelectric fan cooling system is quiet and able to reduce vibration.

This model is made to accommodate 28 standard sized wine bottles.

There is a sleek black and silver finish that will be able to blend with almost any decor. This is a company that knows exactly what every wine enthusiast needs in their home.

Pros

  • This fridge is both stylish and compact.
  • The fan is amazingly quiet.
  • The temperature settings are clear with the digital screen.
  • Great value at a reasonable price.
  • Excellent customer service for anyone who has questions and concerns.

Cons

  • The location of the fan causes wine on the top shelf to be cooler than those below.
  • The shelves will need to be adjusted for any non-standard bottle sizes.
  • The temperature settings do not go below 54 degrees.
  • The shelves are made from lower quality materials.

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Final Thoughts

Keeping the temperature of your favorite wine will improve the flavor and make the wine taste the way it meant to. The 28-Bottle Freestanding Thermoelectric Wine Cooler by Firebird has many good qualities and some aspects that are slightly problematic.

If you are passionate about your wine and feel the need to purchase a cooler, this model may be just what you need. Keep in mind that there are temperature limits and the cooling is not always distributed evenly. For the price though, this is one of the better coolers you will find.

It is quiet, efficient, and uses quality technology for the screen and settings.

While the needs of many wine lovers will be met with this product, those who are more detail oriented may feel like it falls short of expectations.

All-in-all this is a well-made wine cooler, but may not be for everyone. From all I have seen, this cooler does merit a test run as long as you are okay with a few minor inconveniences.

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AKDY 28-Bottle Single-Zone Freestanding Wine Cooler Review

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Wine cellar fridges are awesome to have if you want to keep your bottles at drinking temperature. They’re also nice to have if you simply want an efficient way to prolong the life of your wine without dedicating an entire room to becoming an actual cellar. If you’re looking to store and cool more than 20 bottles of wine at once, one product to consider is the AKDY 28-Bottle Single-Zone Freestanding Wine Cooler.

This model is a really great value. And I dare say it might be the best wine fridge available for under $200. Here’s more info to tell you why:

Details

One of the stand-out features of this AKDY wine cooler is that it holds 28 bottles of wine, which is significantly more than some other wine cooler models I’ve reviewed at this price point. Its wire racks are stable, securely hold the wine, and slide in and out easily. The machine uses a thermoelectric cooling system that’s fairly quiet the majority of the time, and it also rarely vibrates.

The design of this cellar fridge is energy efficient, and it also has a neat touchpad that controls the temperature inside. An LED display clearly shows what temperature the cooler is set to, and you can move the temperature up or down with the touch of a button.

akdy_28_bottle_single_zone_wine_cooler_door_shutAnother nice thing about the AKDY 28 Bottle cooler is how nice it looks. The profile is attractive and the black color ensures it can easily sit on display anywhere in your home and look great. This model is also a good pick if you don’t want a wine fridge that takes up tons of space, as it’s just 20 inches by 16.9 inches horizontally and 28.6 inches in height.

Pros

Wine enthusiasts will appreciate the excellent features of this cooler:

  • It’s very sleek looking and will fit well into most decor.
  • The wine cellar really does get down to 54 degrees and will stay cool.
  • The touch screen controls are super easy and convenient to use.
  • If you have a lot of wine bottles, this can be your one place to store them all. Of course, if you keep more than 28 bottles on hand you’ll need to either buy two coolers or find an alternative storage solution for your other bottles.

Cons

There are some concerns about this wine fridge, but few are total deal breakers:

  • If you want to store a lot of sparkling or white wine and you prefer to drink it around 46 degrees Fahrenheit or so, this may not be the best cooler to get. At best, it cools down to 54 degrees F. If you aren’t willing to chill sparkling and white wines in the fridge before serving, this isn’t the cooler for you.
  • Sometimes this model will make a noticeable humming noise, but it usually only happens when the weather is hotter and it has to work harder to cool the bottles.
  • The 28 bottle capacity will work well for casual wine drinkers and those who keep 28 bottles or less on hand, but those who have expansive wine collections will need more space.

Summary

For a convenient, easy to use, and space saving way to store your wine, the AKDY 28-Bottle Single Zone Cooler is a great choice. It’s attractive, works well, and its sub-$200 price point is a bargain. To store more than 20 bottles without spending a bundle, this wine fridge is well worth a look.

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Igloo 8-Bottle Wine Cooler Review

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The Igloo 8-Bottle Wine Cooler is a wine cooling system with adjustable temperature designed to keep your wines—white or red—at your desired temperature. The 8-Bottle Wine Cooler is relatively compact (22″ deep, 16″ wide), while adding a level of class and sophistication to your kitchen or dining room. Any dinner guests or friends you have over will be impressed with your care and your treatment of wine. This is also one of the most affordable models on the market.

The 8-Bottle Wine Cooler is able to hold a total of—you guessed it—eight bottles of your favorite wines. And the wire shelves are also able to slide right out.

This wine cooler has a one-button temperature regulator, so there is absolutely no learning curve to using this wine cooler. And the white interior light gives you an almost intrusive view into your wine bottles’ contents, allowing you to judge for yourself the quality of the wines you have in stock almost instantly.

But for a more in-depth analysis of this product, let’s look at the pros and cons of this model.

Pros

  • The design of the 8-Bottle Wine Cooler is simple, compact, and generally will be an unobtrusive addition to your kitchen and/or dining setup.
  • I like how quiet it is for keeping wine cool.
  • You will definitely save on the amount of electricity used over the bigger wine cooling systems.
  • 8-Bottle Wine Cooler is portable for the most part. It is compact and can be store in a variety of places. This is NOT JUST for kitchen use. You can store it in the bedroom closet or even use it for the camper. All you really need is an outlet.

Cons

  • You are obviously limited to 8 bottles. For many people this is plenty, but if you’re a wine collector, then you’ll want to move on to a larger model.
  • I heard that the product may eventually overheat, and become loud over a period of a year and a half or so. But it really depends on how well you take care of it.

Overall, the Igloo 8-Bottle Wine Cooler is not a bad model when you consider its low price. Some buyers, however, might like to spend just a little more to get comparably sized unit with added features such as wooden shelves or different styling.

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Koldfront 24-Bottle Freestanding Dual-Zone Wine Cooler Review

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The Koldfront 24-Bottle Freestanding Dual-Zone Wine Cooler is designed to cool your red and white wines simultaneously. That is because it contains two compartments that enable it to cool the wines to their perfect storage or serving temperatures. It can hold 24 bottles, which is a good medium capacity size if you are storing wines for use at your home.

Product Features

Thermoelectric Cooler

The Koldfront 24 Bottle Wine Cooler uses thermoelectric cooling technology. This technology allows the system to run quietly and without any vibrations. It also saves you on energy. That means your electricity bill will not shoot up just because you bought this wine cooler.

No Vibrations

The thermoelectric cooler does not vibrate like a regular refrigerator does. That is a plus for wine storage since vibrations degrade the quality of wine. Vibrations disturb the wine sediments and spoil the taste. With this cooler, you can be confident that will not happen.

Silent Operation

The Koldfront 24 Bottle Free Standing Dual Zone Wine Cooler runs silently due to its thermoelectric cooling system. If you like silence at night, that is a plus. You will also be happy to know that it does not run continuously but only when the temperature rises. That mostly happens when you open its door to take out your wine.

Two Cooling Compartments

koldfront_24_bottle_wine_cooler_wooden_shelf_detailI like that I can store both red and white wines in separate sections. Ideally, they should get cooled to different temperatures. When storing in a regular cooler that has only one compartment, you’ll always have to chill your white wines additionally before serving. But this device will allow you to keep your white wines cooler than your reds. The top compartment gets cooled to a temperature range of 54 to 66°F, while the bottom one can be set within a temperature range of 46 to 66°F.

Digital Control

Most regular refrigerators only provide a dial knob for setting the temperature of the internal compartment. This wine cooler provides you with a digital control pad. That means you can set the precise temperature that you want for your wine collection. And each zone can be set individually. The digital control system also includes a microcontroller to monitor and keep the internal temperatures in control. It is the perfect internal temperature control for temperature sensitive items like wine.

Sleek Design

The Koldfront 24 Bottle Dual Zone Wine Cooler aims to amaze in its appearance. It has a metallic handle, black cabinet, with a stainless steel front door, blue interior lighting, and a slim vertical design. It is the kind of appliance you want to decorate your living space.

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Pros

  • It has two compartments for cooling red wine and white wine
  • Digital temperature control
  • Silent operations
  • No vibrations
  • Energy efficient
  • Cools the different compartments to different temperatures

Cons

The only real negatives are minor points to consider when operating this model.

  • Do not keep opening the door, as it strains the cooling system.
  • Hold the tray with both handles when pulling it out. Otherwise, it will drop to the compartment below it.
  • The door must be opened to 180 degrees in order to pull out the storage trays. This means that you essentially need to place this unit in a spot where there is empty space directly to it’s right.

Summary

I like that this wine cooler enables me to store both red and white wines at their perfect temperatures. It’s a little pricier than some comparable models, however, the dual-zone cooling in a medium-capacity cooler is something that will appeal to many buyers.

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Kalamera 80-Bottle Freestanding Compressor Wine Cooler Review

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The Kalamera 80 Bottle Freestanding Compressor Wine Cooler uses advanced compressor technology to cool your wine. I like how it can cool my wines to temperatures as low as 40°F. Unlike regular refrigerators, its compressor runs quietly without causing vibrations. It can store up to 80 bottles of wine. That makes this the natural choice if you’re looking for a wine cellar cooler to grow a large collection with.

Product Features

Cools All Bottles Evenly

The Kalamera 80 Bottle Freestanding Compressor Wine Cooler has slat-styled shelves that allow air to flow freely throughout this wine cooler. That allows all the wines to chill to the desired temperature irrespective of their location in the cooler. I love wine that is chilled properly. That is why I like the fact that with this wine cooler, I can enjoy wines that are as cold as 40°F.

Digital Temperature Control

kalamera_80_bottle_wine_cooler_temperature_control_detailSetting the temperature of this wine cooler is a breeze. It has a digital control panel for you to raise or lower temperature using up/down arrows. The desired temperature is then displayed, and the cooler’s advanced compressor will work quietly to achieve that temperature. The digital display and blue interior light give the nice digital look to this 80 bottle wine cooler.

Quiet Compressor

This wine cooler uses an advanced quiet compressor that allows it to run quietly. It does not make that sharp noise that most refrigerators are prone to making. That allows it to stay in your kitchen or living room without drawing any unnecessary attention due to its noise. I prefer storing my pricey wines in the bedroom where I can quickly take inventory whenever I want at the end of the day. A quiet compressor is therefore very convenient for me.

Freestanding Design

The freestanding design of this wine cooler makes it easy to store in any room at home. You do not need to place it on top of the kitchen counter or shelf. Its tall, slim design makes use of vertical space. It is perfect for any situation where you want to take advantage of vertical space to avoid clutter. Whenever I have had to manage my living space, I have come to learn that if you stack some items upwards, you end up with some much needed space left. This wine cooler takes care of that.

80 Bottles Capacity

kalamera_80_bottle_wine_cooler_wood_shelf_detailMost wine coolers designed for use at home hold less than 20 bottles. That means you sometimes cannot store enough wine bottles as a collector. This model allows you to grow a large collection over time. The reliable cooling mechanism allows you to store your wine precious vintages at optimal temperature without worrying about them spoiling. And with the even cooling throughout, any one of those bottles will be ready to drink when you’re in the mood.

No Vibrations

This wine cooler uses a compressor that runs not just quietly but also without noticeable vibrations. That is important because vibrations disturb the sediments in wine, ruining its taste. The ability to chill wine to 40°F without causing vibrations is not something that is easy to find in a wine cooler.

Pros

  • Energy efficient, it is designed to use less energy when cooling your wines.
  • Stores 80 bottles, which is enough for home wine storage.
  • Runs quietly and it is totally silent at a distant of 10 feet.
  • Does not vibrate when operating.
  • Free standing and makes use of vertical space.
  • Very affordable for its capacity.

Cons

  • Cools your wines slowly.
  • It needs some effort to take out the shelves when surrounding shelves are full.
  • Small feet, the door, might rub the floor if placed on a carpet.

Summary

If you intend to start a wine collection, this is the best wine cooler to have. It will cool your wine and easily hold its temperature within a range of 40°F-66°F. It will not cause any vibrations, meaning it conserves the quality of your wine. Finally, it runs quietly to make sure that it does not cause any disturbance. I would not hesitate to recommend this wine fridge to my best friends if they were interested in seeking a large capacity cooler.

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