The Ultimate Wine Serving & Storage Temperature Guide

09-08-2017

Red wines are served room temperature, white wines are served cold. Most people have at least this very basic understanding of wine temperatures, but very few understand much beyond that. While this is a great starting point, the truth is that there is much more that goes into determining the ideal serving temperature for your favorite wine.

glasses of winePhoto credit: https://www.shopstyle.com/browse/drinkware

Wine serving temperatures can be grouped together either on a macro level( red, white, or sparkling wine) or a micro level based on the type of grape used in creating the wine. On a macro level, wine serving temperatures look like this:

White Wines

Serve between 45 and 55 degrees F

  • If the wine is too cold, the flavors and aromas will be hooded and not as clear as the winemaker intended. The result is that you lose the complexity of the wine.
  • When served too warm, white wines become flat.
  • Interestingly, most refrigerators store food around 35 degrees, making it too cold for proper chilling of white wines.

Red Wines

Serve between 50 and 68 degrees F

  • Serving reds too chilled will highlight the tannins and acids, making the wine taste muted.
  • Serving too warm can lead to a flat wine that tastes overly alcoholic.
  • Interestingly, the proper wine storage temperature for all wines is 55 degrees.

Rose Wines

Serve between 45-55 degrees F

Sparkling Wines

Serve between 42-52 degrees F

Fortified Wines

Serve between 55-68 degrees F

Once you understand the appropriate temperature range for serving, you can begin to take a look at a more micro level. Individual grape varieties do better at very specific temperatures, though these differences are minute enough that the average wine consumer will not notice much difference. Here’s a look at what the most discerning experts recommend:

Sauvignon Blanc 45°F/7°C
Pinot Grigio 45°F/7°C
Chardonnay 50°F/10°C
White Zinfandel 50°F/10°C
Pinot Noir 50°F/10°C to 55°F/13°C
Merlot 55°F/13°C to 60°F/15°C
Red Zinfandel 65°F/18°C
Shiraz 65°F/18°C
Cabernet Sauvignon 65°F/18°C

 

As mentioned above, the ideal storage temperature for wine is a uniform 55 degrees F. This means that you’re likely to need to warm a red a bit, and potentially chill a white before serving. This can be done in a variety of ways. Typically, warming a red can be done by leaving it at room temperature for a period of time. Wines that need chilling can be done the high tech way, with a wine chiller and a thermostat, or the old fashioned way, by placing the bottle in a bucket of ice water for roughly 20 minutes prior to serving.

The idea of wine serving temperature is to bring out the best of the flavors without making them in any way. It is a fun experiment to take the same bottle of wine and taste it at three different serving temperatures. The result can be three glasses of wine from the same bottle that taste remarkably different.

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