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Complete Guide on Wine Serving Temperatures

Complete Guide on Wine Serving Temperatures

Which is the best temperature to serve your wine? Have you ever had warm lemonade? Or worse, warm, bland beer? Wine, just like many beverages, deserves to be served at the correct temperatures.

You probably have an upcoming dinner or event or just want to enjoy a glass of good wine at home. If you love wine, you may already know that how you serve the wine matters a lot.Best-temperature-to-serve-wine 1

Why is temperature important?

Wine temperature will affect the wine’s taste, smell, and overall quality. When we are enjoying wine at home, we sometimes pop it in the fridge and assume that that’s all we need to do. This guide will challenge any assumptions and give you tips that help you out.

The wine serving temperature is how hot or cold it is when you pour it for consumption. How we feel wine on our tongue and nose depends on how the wine molecules behave. When the molecules move well, our brain interprets that as flavors, smells, and wine texture. 

To get the best out of your wine, you have to store it well and show appreciation for the fine art of wine service. Those three things are integral to the wine’s taste and quality. Ensure you buy your wine from high-quality wine stores. Your wine should be stored away from the sun and temperature fluctuations. 

What are some of the things to know when it comes to serving it?

General Wine Serving Tips

Here are some tips on how you should serve wine.

Red Wine Serving Tips

Most red wine benefits from aeration. Red wine should be uncorked for 30-60 minutes, and the wine is best served cold but not chilled. However, you will often notice that different red wines also have different serving temperatures. Some wine lovers opt to slightly chill red wine before serving it. In some instances, you can put the wine in the fridge for about 10 to 15 minutes to get it just below room temperature (20–22 °C / 68–72 °F). 

Another thing to remember is that red wine, on most occasions, is served in a glass with a wide bowl so that the wine “opens up” or aerates. It also needs lots of swirling. You should not hold the bowl of the wine glass with the palm of your hand as your body heat will warm up the wine slightly. This explains why people hold wine by the glass stem.

When decanting wine, it may also get warmer. Common when serving red wine, decanting is putting wine in a large vessel (decanter) for it to be exposed to air. In this “breathing” process, the wine gets aerated and develops a better taste.Best-temperature-to-serve-wine-2

Sparkling Wine Serving Tips

For all types of sparkling wine (Champagne, Cava, Sekt, Prosecco, etc. ), you should put it in the freezer for 60 minutes before opening it. You should serve it at 40 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit (5–10 °C).  If you do not have time, you can also get an ice bucket and cover the bottle before serving. Sparkling wine is served cold because it gets a delicious crispness and preserves the bubbles. You will want to preserve the bubbles as much as possible. If you serve the wine when it is warm, it will get foamy like how a warm soda would get. You can also chill the glasses as well.

White & Rosé Wine Serving Tips

White and rosé wine should be served cold between 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit (10–15 °C). After buying these wines, you can store them in the fridge where the temperatures are not too low. White and rosé wines do not need to be placed in an ice bucket if you will consume them within an hour or so. However, if you are in a very hot region, you can chill the wine as you drink it. You can put the bottle on the table during dinner, and the aromas will also change as the wine slowly warms up. You might notice the bottle “sweat” a little.Best-temperature-to-serve-wine-3

Dessert Wines Serving Tips

It should be served cold from 6 to 10 degrees Celsius. After buying the wines, you should put them in the fridge. Just like with sparkling wines, you can put dessert wines in the freezer 30 minutes before serving the wine. After you open the wine, you can put it in an ice bucket until you are done with the wine.

Wine Serving Temperature table

TYPE WINE SERVING TEMPERATURE IN CELSIUS SERVING TEMPERATURE IN FAHRENHEIT
RED WINE MERLOT / CABERNET / PLAVAC MALI 18˚C 64˚F
PINOT NOIR / TERAN 16˚C 61˚F
SHIRAZ / ZINFANDEL 18˚C 64˚F
WHITE WINE RIESLING / SAUVIGNON / GRAŠEVINA 8˚C 47˚F
CHARDONNAY / POŠIP 9˚C 48˚F
SPARKLING WINE CHAMPAGNE METHOD 7 ˚C 45˚F
CHARMAT METHOD 5˚C 41˚F
ROSE WINE ROSE 12˚C 54˚F
DESSERT WINE SWEET WINE 6˚C 43˚F

The above are guidelines for optimal serving temperatures. Wines can be served a few degrees warmer or cooler and still taste great.

Wine Body Guide – Light, Medium, and Heavy Body!

If your wine is not mentioned in the chart above, you can still find a comfortable wine serving range. Sometimes, people also cool the wines based on the wine body. The weight and richness of wine in your mouth is the body. For example, your tongue can tell the difference between skimmed milk and full cream milk, and so does of wine.

TYPE SERVING TEMPERATURE PREPARATION
Full-bodied red wines 16-18˚C (61–64°F) 30–60 minutes at room temperature
Light and medium-bodied red wines 12-16˚C (55–61°F) 0–30 minutes at room temperature
Full-bodied white wines 9-12˚C (50–54°F) 3–15 minutes on ice
Light and medium-bodied white wines 6-10˚C (43–50°F) 15–30 minutes on ice
Light and medium-bodied sparkling wines 6-10˚C (43–50°F) 15–30 minutes on ice

You can use this chart to learn more about wine serving temperatures.

Important Wine Serving Tips

  • If you can smell the alcohol burning your nose, then your wine may be too warm. If you cannot smell anything, your wine may be too cold. This happens when you store red wines in the fridge for a long time. In the world of wine, red wines should not be too cold, and white wines should not be too warm.
  • Another rule of thumb is to never serve wine above 20 degrees Celsius (68 degrees Fahrenheit). Beyond this temperature, your wine experience will not be great. When serving, extremely cold temperatures will mute the wine’s aromas, and too much heat will dull or destroy the wine flavors.
  • Another important thing to note is the glassware that you use. Different glasses affect a wine’s temperature and quality in different ways. Because red wines are best served in open glasses, they get warmer faster. That is not a problem when it comes to this type of wine. However, white wines are served in narrower glasses. Sparkling wines are commonly served in tulip glasses to preserve the bubbles and prevent your chilled wine from getting too warm and, in turn, ruining the experience and taste.
  • You can get a wine refrigerator if you want to maintain the right wine temperature. A wine fridge will ensure that you do not have to worry about wine storage.

Best-temperature-to-serve-wine-5

Although these are the standard wine serving rules, always experiment on your own at home. Perhaps you will love something else. Wine tasting at home can be a fun experience because you learn what you like and can try different things. An aspect of personal preference also comes into play. Look at what works for you. However, when you are serving guests, these standards will come in handy.

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