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Dear Dr. Vinny,

I got some stainless steel "wine chill drops" for chilling white wine, and the packaging suggests using them for red wine as well, to bring it down to the "correct" serving temperature. Does that make sense?

—Alison, Minnetonka, Minn.

Dear Alison,

I think you’re talking about the range of products out there that include steel or stone "ice cubes" that you keep in the freezer and put into your wine or whiskey to chill it without diluting it. I’ve seen some that are even designed with an elegant handle, which will make it easier to fish out if your wine is at the desired temperature and you don’t want to further chill it down.

These products can be used for both red and white and even sparkling wine, sure. I think the two biggest factors if they will work for you are 1) what temperature you enjoy your wines and 2) what the starting temperature of the wine is before you use them. A white from a 55° F cellar might taste better to you with a little more chill on it. On a hot day, a red that you typically can enjoy at room temperature might seem a bit alcoholic—chilling it down for a couple minutes might make it more palatable. But I’d probably never chill a red as cold as I would a white.

Personal preferences rule, but I think whites show their best around 40° to 50° F and reds at 60° to 65° F. Too cold and wines start to become inexpressive, too warm and they can seem flabby.

—Dr. Vinny

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