While we know that the general rule of wine service is that white wine should be served cold and red wine should be served right-around room temperature, there is a massive flaw in how we commonly serve wines. The subtle differences in just a few temperatures, cooler or warmer, can make a monumental difference in how wine is experienced, so here are the best serving temperatures for wine.
It all boils down to the fact that temperature can affect the aromas, temperatures, and perception of sugar and alcohol in wine. While cold temperatures can dull aromas and flavors, warmer temperatures can enhance the perception of alcohol and cause a burning sensation.
In addition, cold temperatures highlight acidity and tannin, while slightly warmer temperatures (for white wines specifically) can highlight aromas. So what does that mean in terms of temperatures?
If light white wines aren’t kept at a cool enough temperature, you won’t be able to experience the acidity and freshness of the wine. You will simply be overwhelmed by the sense of alcohol. With heavier white wines, especially ones that are oaked, you aren’t able to pick up on the complexity or texture if the wines are too cold. So, not only should white wines be stored at cooler temperatures but also at different temperatures based on the wine’s body.
Therefore, lighter white wines should be served at between 7-10 ̊C.
Heavier-bodied whites should be served at between10-13 ̊C.
Since rosé is not quite a white or red wine, the temperatures can vary slightly. Rosé is enjoyed chilled since it has more white wine characteristics than red wine characteristics. However, since there is slightly more body in rosé wines, you can serve them between 12-14 ̊C.
Red wines cannot be served as cold as white or rosé wines since it dulls all the flavors and highlights the tannins. The mistake of serving it at room temperature, however, is equally detrimental since those temperatures are too warm and create an overwhelming alcohol experience.
The best is to serve red wine slightly chilled to ensure the best experience. And just like white wine, these reds should be served at different temperatures based on their body.
For full-bodied reds, especially heavily oaked wines, the best temperatures are between 17–21°C.
The lighter-bodied red wines, however, can be served slightly cooler at 12–17°C.
Sparkling wine, which offers equally fresh and vibrant flavors as most light white wines, should also be served cold. However, since there are bubbles present, the wine should be served even colder. Not only does it enhance the bubbles and heighten the crispness, but it also prevents the bottle from spilling when popped. Ideally, serve your sparkling wine ice-cold, between 5–10°C, and keep it in an ice bucket throughout.
How to Serve Wine at the Ideal Temperatures
There are a few tips to ensure your wine is at the ideal temperature just as you’re about to serve it. For white wines, you can store them in a conventional fridge; just ensure you take them out about 15 minutes before serving. On the other hand, put red wine in the refrigerator for 15 minutes just before you’re about to serve it to get it properly chilled.
To chill white wine or sparkling wine in a hurry, wrap the bottle in a cloth and submerge it in an ice bath. The cloth helps the bottle retain the cold. You can also add salt to the ice bucket, lowering the ice water’s temperature.
If you’ve been making these common temperature mistakes, it’s not too late to use your newfound knowledge and improve your upcoming wine experiences.