Ideal serving Temperature for Wines
By Rachel Thralls, CS
While everyone might like their wine at slightly different serving temperatures, wine actually tastes better served slightly cool; both white and red wines. Hopefully you’ve already experienced how wildly different your coffee, tea or sparkling water tastes at different temperatures. This same ideology applies to wine. Also, some of the more delicate floral aromatics in fine wines are completely subdued at overly cool temperatures or burn off too quickly when the wine is too warm.
If you drink affordable wine most of the time, serving it slightly chilled will disguise most “off” aromas. A wine above 70 °F will start to smell more alcoholic because of increased ethanol evaporation that occurs as the temperature rises. A good reason not to fill your wine glass up to the brim! A typical serving of wine is about 5 ounces and a bottle of wine contains just over 25 ounces so you should get about 5 glasses of wine per bottle. Also, the extra space in a typical wine glass is designed to hold the aromas when you swirl and smell your wine so try and save some space!
So what are the best serving temperatures to serve wine at? It depends on the variety of wine for both whites and reds!
Champagne and Sparkling Wines:
Affordable sparkling wines taste best served at 40-45° F. If you have a high-quality, more expensive Champagne or sparkling wine, serve at ideal light white wine temperatures, which is slightly warmer.
Light White Wines and Rose:
Examples of light white wines are Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio. These wines are best served between 45-50° F, slightly cooler than heavier white wines. Rose wines also taste best and maintain their crispness and acidity at these temperatures.
Heavy Whites and Light Reds:
Heavier white wines, such as Chardonnay taste well at a range of temperatures depending on someone’s taste, from 48-56° F. Especially oak-aged whites tend to taste better and you can taste the fruit of the wine more served slightly warmer. Lighter red wines such as Pinot Noir also taste better at this cooler end of the spectrum.
Medium Bodied Reds:
Medium bodied reds, such as Merlot, are best served right around 55° F. This temperature is also the ideal cellar temperature. You can grab your bottle right out of your cellar and pour a glass! Keep in mind that wines tend to warm up in the glass as well!
Full Bodied and Aged Reds:
Full bodied reds, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Zinfandel are best served between 59-68° F. You might be saying isn’t that too cold for a red wine? The wine will taste much better cooler and keep in mind that wines tend to warm up in the glass as well!
Rachel Thralls is a Certified Sommelier and is studying to be a certified Nutrition & Holistic Health Coach through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York City. She is the owner of FitSomm Rachel.