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Optimal Temperature for Serving Wines

Posted by Amanda on 4/29/10

You more than likely have heard the old saying “serve white wines chilled and red wines at room temperature”. If you talk with wine connoisseurs this is not always the case. The temperature of the wine has more to do with the wine tastes than you might imagine, thus the reason you should learn a bit more about the optimal temperatures to serve the various wines.

The first thing you should learn is that if you serve a wine at a too cold of a temperature the cold will actually mask the flavor of the wine and even the aroma. If you serve a wine, too warn the flavor can be hot with alcohol. Finding the perfect temperature will help you serve your guests so they will enjoy the bouquet and flavor of the wines you have chosen. Of course, just because a wine connoisseur thinks one temperature is better than another, you may disagree. The idea is to start with these temperatures and then test various ones for your own taste.

The majority of individuals serve their white wine right from the refrigerator. In most cases, refrigerators are set at 35 degrees Fahrenheit. This is the temperature that most of your produce will love, however, wine will not be as pleased. For white wines such as Vinho Verdhe, Chenin Blancs, and Sauvignon Blancs this temperature is too cool and will minimize the flavor of the wines. This temperature is even worse for Riesling and Chardonnay and can cause the wines to loose all flavor.

Most wine connoisseurs stand by the rule that white wines should be served at 45 degrees Fahrenheit. If you place your wine in the refrigerator, on average the bottle will lower 4 degrees Fahrenheit every ten minutes and once removed from the refrigerator the temperature will raise about the same. If you must use your refrigerator for chilling white wines, then take it out about thirty minutes before you are going to serve, this way it will be able to warm just a few degrees for optimal serving. You can also place a bottle of white wine in your freezer for thirty minutes before serving as well if the bottle of wine is at room temperature.

At one time, the saying above about serving red wine at room temperature could be observed, however, today with heat and air-conditioning you never know if the room temperature is actually what the red wine needs. The best temperature to serve red wine is 55 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Serving a red wine warmer than 65 degrees Fahrenheit is a huge mistake as all the imperfections in the wine are going to be noticed. In order to ensure your red wine is at optimal temperature for serving, you should put the bottle in the refrigerator for around 18 minutes.

A quick guide for basic temperatures
This basic guide can be followed to help ensure your serve your wines at the best temperature so your guests will be able to enjoy the aroma and the flavor of your wines.

55 to 63 degrees Fahrenheit
Red full boded red wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Syrah, and Zinfandel.
46 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit
Not as full bodied red wines, rose, and full bodied white wines such as
Beaujolais, Chardonnay, Riesling, and Viognier.
43 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit
Not so complex white wines like Chenin Blanc, dessert wines, Sauvignon Blanc, and Vinho Verdhe.
43 to 46 degrees Fahrenheit
Ice wine and champagne

Remember to test your own taste buds against this guide, you may find that you enjoy your wines just a bit cooler or warmer than the above guide.

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