Here are some tips on how to serve and enjoy your wines.
1. To chill or not to chill?
Full and medium bodied red wines shouldn't be chilled. They should be served at around 12-18 degrees (often noted as "room temperature"--which is certainly not the case in summertime Taiwan!). Light chilling will sometimes suit light, fruity, young red wines, meaning just an hour in your refrigerator before you open it. White wines should be served chilled, but not as cold as something like beer--8-12 degrees is about right. Sweeter white wines can be chilled a bit less than dry whites. Chilling helps retain a wine's refreshing quality, but over-chilling will dull the fruit and sweeter flavours, making acidity overly prominent.
2. What's a decanter and do you need one?
A decanter is a container (best made from glass, which is inert and doesn't impart any flavour) that is narrow on the pouring end and wider lower down. A good decanter should allow air to pass through the wine as you pour it from the bottle (slowly) into the decanter. This will have the same effect on the wine as allowing it to "breathe" for a few minutes before you drink it, opening up the wine. Some aged red wines may have some sediment at the bottom and this also keeps that in the bottle when you pour. If the wine is old or special to you in any way, you may want to put the bottle on the table, but the wine will taste better if served from a decanter.
3. Ice buckets--do you need one?
Using an ice bucket with ice cubes and some water in it will chill the wine pretty quickly, so you should only need about 15 minutes, even if the wine hasn't been refrigerated first. However, be careful about is leaving it in the bucket too long, which will over-chill it and may cause the label to come off the bottle. Rather, just put it back in the bucket if you need to cool it down a little again.