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Wine Serving Temperatures

The best temperature for serving wine varies based on the type of wine. In general, we tend to drink our white wines too cold and our red wines too warm.

Most people have heard that red wines should be served at 'room' temperature, but that is really a reference to 'cellar' temperature. Cellar temperature is usually about 13 °C which is perfect for storing wine.

When wines are served too warm they tend to taste unbalanced with an alcohol edge. The reason that red wines are best enjoyed at slightly reduced temperatures is that alcohol will produce an unpleasant bite on the palate when served at normal room temperature.

Optimal Wine Serving Temperatures:

Red Wines

10 - 18 °C

Rosé Wines

7 - 13 °C

White Wines

8 - 12 °C

'Wine Doctor' Chris Kissack from thewinedoctor.com wrote an interesting article about Wine Serving Temperatures:

The temperature at which a wine is served is important, and it is worth spending a few moments thinking about it. The old adage of serving white wines chilled and red wines at room temperature is a useful starting point, although not nearly detailed enough. A wine served a little too cold or a little too warm can lose an awful lot of character, particularly with respect to aroma.

Cellar ThermometerMost domestic refrigerators maintain their internal environment at about 4 °C, which is far too cold for most white wines. Champagne and dry white wines of quality are best served at a temperature between 8 °C and 10 °C (sometimes even a little higher), which is very close to the temperature in many underground cellars for much of the year. Many whites, therefore, are best served straight from the cellar, but for the majority whose homes do not possess such a feature, a bare hour or so in the fridge door will do fine here. Inexpensive white wines, cheaper sparkling wines and sweet white wines are best a little colder, perhaps 4 °C to 8 °C, so two hours or so should bring these bottles down to a reasonable temperature.

Red wines often also need a little chilling. The 'room temperature' which many regard as the ideal serving temperature for red wines is not an excuse to leave wines languishing in the warmth of today's insulated, centrally heated houses. The ideal serving temperature for many fine red wines is perhaps 14 °C to 18 °C, somewhat cooler than modern houses, although this was a common temperature indoors in centuries gone by! Many reds, unless stored somewhere cool, will benefit from half an hour in the refrigerator. This is particularly the case for Beaujolais and young Burgundy, as well as Pinot Noir from the New World. Good claret, Rhônes and other reds from warmer climes are generally fine at 16 - 18 °C.

When bringing the wine to the correct temperature, its obviously important not to damage the wine. Gentle cooling in the fridge is best, and cooling in a bucket of water and ice is also safe, and more rapid. It will have the effect of bringing the wine down to 0 °C, which is far too cold to appreciate the wine, so you will need to remove the bottle before it gets this far. If trying to warm a bottle which is too cold, there is a more significant risk of damaging the wine. Warm the wine gently, preferably by planning ahead and bringing the wine from its cool storage area, be it wine cellar or fridge, several hours in advance. Many are tempted to try and accelerate the process by placing the wine near radiators or other sources of heat. This is a recipe for likely disaster, with the end result quite possibly a stewed, soupy, over-heated wine, especially left their too long as the mind is occupied elsewhere.

You can read the full article here: Serving Temperatures by the WineDoctor

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