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Have you wondered what is the best temperature for serving wine? Many serve it too warm or too cold. Read on to discover the ideal temperature for serving both red and white wine.
Too often, fine wine is served at the wrong temperature. Taking the time to learn about wine serving temperature for favorite vintages will enhance wine taste and flavor.
Serving white wine that is too cold and red wine that is too warm are common mistakes. The complexity of the wine with respect to aroma, taste, and flavor is very dependent on wine temperature when served. That is why wine should be served at the proper temperature based on the type and particular vintage. Those who learn about wine optimal serving temperatures maximize the flavor and enjoyment of a favorite fine wine.
White Wine Temperature Serving Suggestions
White wine should never be served directly from a refrigerator as the temperature will be far too cold. Refrigerator temperatures are often between 35° F and 40° F. While white wines may seem refreshing when served too cold, they will also be nearly tasteless. A full-bodied white wine like Chardonnay is best served at a temperature in the range of 50 to 60° F. Lighter, fruitier vintages like Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc are best served at temperatures near 45° F.
Serving white wine that is too warm will cause the wine to taste alcoholic and heavy. The trick with white wine is to serve it at the temperature that best showcases the unique and personal characteristics of the wine. Discard the myth about refrigerating all white wines and instead serve them at the ideal temperature based on the variety. Wine Intro has a handy wine temperature guide that can be used to find the ideal serving temperatures for all varieties of wine.
Red Wine Temperature Serving Suggestions
Another common but faulty rule of thumb when it comes to wine temperature is to serve all red wine at room temperature. Room temperature might be 68° F or even higher, not the ideal wine temperature for serving any wine.
As with white wine, there are ideal service temperatures for red wine based on the vintage. Serving red wine that is too warm causes the wine to taste too alcoholic and sometimes even vinegary. Serving reds that are too chilled produce an excessive tannic bite and much less flavor. The temperature guide provided above provides an ideal wine temperature for red wine varieties too. Generally, the range of 45° F to 65° F is best for red wine and not affecting it’s flavor profile.
How To Achieve Ideal Wine Serving Temperatures
The ideal storage temperature for all wines is 55° F. That fact alone rules out storing white wine in a 35° F refrigerator. Fine wine is perishable, and so storing wine in an environment that is too hot will cause it to lose its flavor. Storing it at a temperature that is excessively cold will also degrade the flavor.
Realistically unless cellared or stored in a wine cooler, most wines are stored at room temperature, both by wine retailers and consumers. This is not a real cause for concern since wine is typically consumed soon after it is purchased. Based on the room temperature assumption, wine generally will require chilling before it is served.
Refrigerators can be used to chill wine as long as the wine temperature is monitored, and the wine is not refrigerated too long. White wines like Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, and White Zinfandel can be chilled at refrigerator temperature for around an hour and a half before serving to achieve ideal temperature. As an alternative, wine bottles can be placed in an ice bucket with an ice-water mixture for about 20 minutes before serving.
Red wines stored at room temperature also need slight chilling since, on average, reds are most flavorful when served at about 65° F. Adhesive thermometer strips are available that can be attached to the outside of wine bottles for precise temperature management. But for those who do not wish to go to such extremes, a good rule of thumb recommended by Ursula Hermacinski, a former Christie’s wine auctioneer, is to put red wine in the refrigerator 20 minutes before it will be served.
For wine enthusiasts who do have an actual cellar and keep red wine at the ideal storage temperature, it can be warmed by removing it to room temperature for about 20 minutes before serving.
A very handy appliance now available is the rapid wine chillers now available from many retailers. Wines can be chilled quickly to various temperatures in as little as one to six minutes, depending on the temperature desired. These wine chillers offer a very convenient means of getting wine temperature just right.
Ideal Wine Temperature Benefits
Regardless of the method uses, serving wine at proper wine temperature will reap many benefits. All too often, people extend the time and energy to choose a fine wine only to discover they are disappointed in the flavor or that it is not well received by guests. Many times the problem is not with the wine but the wine temperature when served.
Try serving wine at the ideal temperature for that next wine and cheese tasting get together to please and impress party guests.