Warm, Cold or Chilled: Your Wine Temperature Serving Guide
Ever wondered if you’re drinking your glass of wine at the right temperature? Serving wine at the proper temperature is important as how the wine is served will affect how you taste and enjoy your wine. If served at an improper temperature, the wine’s full properties and personalities will not shine. The wine’s fruit may be muted, or the acidity and alcohol may be too pronounced. If you want your wine to explode to its maximum potential in the glass, this guide will aid you in doing just that.
Sparkling, White and Rosé Wine
For sparkling and young, light bodied or delicate white wines, and rosé wines, these should be served cool at 7°C- 10°C. At these temperatures, the freshness and acidity of these wines such as Prosecco, or Pinot Grigio will be highlighted. Generally, vintage champagnes will be served slightly warmer than this to allow the biscuit and toasty notes to come out. Heavier-bodied white wines like White Burgundy or cult California Chardonnays are best served a little bit warmer at 10°C- 13°C to allow the wine to transform and allow its complexities to be expressed, especially if an older vintage. If the wines are too cold, the flavors of the wine will be masked and muted.
Light-bodied, young red wines such as New Zealand or Chilean Pinot Noirs or Italian Barberas can be served slightly cooler than full-bodied reds at around 13°C. If too warm, the wines will be acidic and overpowering. Full-bodied red wines, such as Left-Bank Bordeaux or Italian Brunello di Montalcino should be served between 15°C - 18°C. These temperatures are still cooler than standard European room temperature, allowing the tannins to be muted and mask any bitter components of the wine. Serving red wines too warm will express more alcohol and mute the acidity. This will mask the fruit and structure of the wine, causing it out to be out of balance and reducing our enjoyment.
Heavy Sweet Wine
Heavy sweet wines like Sauternes or a Italian Vin Santo should be served best cooler than dry, white wines, at temperatures between 6°C- 8°C. Serving dessert wine cool alters the perception of sugar in the sweet wine without hindering its flavors.
Fortified wines like dry sherries and dry madeiras are served best slightly chilled at 6°C- 8°C. Sweet Madeiras, ruby and vintage ports should be served at the opposite end at 18°C- 20°C.
Some fast fixes for improperly served wines can be done when in a bind. If wine is served too cold, you can hold your hand up to the bowl of the glass to warm up the wine. If the sparkling, white or rosé, or even red wine is too warm, you can toss it in freezer for a bit (don’t forget about it) or place in a refrigerator or bucket filled with ice to bring down the temperature of the wine.
Often times, our first encounter with wine is a bad wine due to improperly served wine. It is a good habit to always follow these guides in serving wine to help spread our love of wine to everyone around us.