You love wine – right? (Otherwise, you probably wouldn’t be spending time here on our blog.) Here’s a little advice about serving temperatures that you may find useful:
Room Temperature Isn’t Right
To showcase the wines you love, it’s important to serve them at the right temperature. Lots of people use the concept of “Room Temperature” as their guide to serving reds. If you are too … chances are your reds are way too warm.
- The term “room temperature” has been around for centuries, and it refers to drafty old English castles that maintained a brisk 55-60 degrees in the dead of summer, not your well-insulated modern home.
Does It Really Make A Difference?
While some things about serving wine will make more subtle differences (glass shape comes to mind), the temperature is actually pretty crucial.
- Serving wine at the recommended temperature brings out its intended flavor profile, character and bouquet by ensuring that the wine dispays a balance of aroma, flavor, structure and alcohol. Serve wine too cold or too warm … and you’ll miss out.
Keep It Simple
White Wine – Serve between 45 and 50°F, depending on the varietal (see below)
- If white wine is served too cold, flavors and aromas will be muted.
Try this: Open a bottle of your favorite Chardonnay. Pour one glass and put it in the fridge for about 1/2 hour. Then, put the bottle in and cool both the bottle and the glass for another 30 min or so. This will put the wine in the glass at about 35 degrees and the wine in the bottle at about 50. Pour a glass from the bottle and compare it to the glass that’s at 35 degrees. You will likely notice the differences – especially in the aromas – right away.
- Too warm and they become flat and flabby. Someone bring an ice bucket to chill this bottle down!
- Note: your fridge – at a chilly 35°F – is far too cold.
Red Wine – Serve between 55 and 65°F, depending on the varietal (see below)
- Served too cold, red wine will seem excessively tannic and acidic. Not the description we are looking for.
- Too warm, they will become overly “hot,” alcoholic and lifeless.
Try this: Do the opposite of our Chardonnay experiment. Select a big Cab or Zin, pour a glass out at room temperature, then place the bottle in the fridge for about 10-15 minutes. Pour a glass of the cooled wine and compare the two. Notice the difference? (This experiment is even more dramatic for Pinot Noir, but give that 20 minutes to cool.)
Wine Storage – If you’re storing wines for any length of time, keep both red and white wines at 55°F. Check out our post on Wine Storage.
- Note: Your kitchen counter, at a generous 70°F+ is far too warm.
|Wine Varietal||Suggested Serving Temperature||Chill in Fridge Approx.
(from room temp)
|Champagne or Sparkling Wine||45°F||30-40 minutes|
|Pinot Gris||45-50°F||30-40 minutes|
|Sauvignon Blanc||45-50°F||30-40 minutes|
|White Bordeaux Blends||50°F||30 minutes|
|Pinot Noir||55°F-60°F||15-20 minutes|
|Cabernet Franc||60°F||15 minutes|
|Cabernet Sauvignon||60°F-65°F||10-15 minutes|
|Red Bordeaux Blends||60°F-65°F||10-15 minutes|
A side note: We’ve noticed that in restaurants, many reds are served too warm. The bottle should feel cool to your touch. This is especially disastrous if you’ve ordered a nice Pinot Noir – which actually should be lightly chilled. Don’t be afraid to ask your server for an ice bucket to cool down your bottle of red a bit. It will be worth it.