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What Temperature should my wine be?

Serving wine at the correct temperature is important because it can significantly impact the overall sensory experience of the wine. Temperature affects the way the aromas and flavours of the wine are perceived, as well as its overall balance and texture. Here’s why serving wine at the right temperature matters:

bottles of champagne in ice cubes
  1. Aroma and Flavour Perception: Temperature plays a crucial role in how volatile compounds in wine are released into the air. Warmer temperatures can enhance the release of aromatic compounds, allowing you to fully appreciate the wine’s bouquet and complex flavours. Cooler temperatures can suppress aromas, making the wine seem less expressive and flavourful.
  2. Balance: The balance between acidity, tannins, and alcohol in wine is affected by temperature. Serving a wine too cold can mask its acidity and make it taste flat, while serving it too warm can make the alcohol more pronounced and overpower the other elements.
  3. Texture and Mouthfeel: Temperature affects the viscosity and texture of wine. Red wines served too warm can feel overly heavy and alcoholic, while white wines served too cold can seem thin and lacking in body.
  4. Tannins: Tannins in red wines can feel more aggressive and astringent when served at too low a temperature. Serving red wine at the correct temperature can help soften these tannins and provide a smoother mouthfeel.
  5. Wine Faults: Temperature can also impact the perception of wine faults. Serving a wine too warm can accentuate any flaws or faults present, such as excessive volatile acidity or off-putting aromas.
  6. Aging Potential: If you’re serving an older or more mature wine, serving it too cold can diminish its complexity and nuances, while serving it too warm can accelerate its aging process and potentially lead to premature oxidation.
hands toasting wine glasses with red wine

The ideal serving temperature for wine depends on the type of wine you are serving. Here are some general guidelines:

  1. White Wine:
    • Light-bodied white wines (like Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio): Serve chilled between 45-50°F (7-10°C).
    • Full-bodied white wines (like Chardonnay, Viognier): Serve slightly cooler, around 50-55°F (10-13°C).
  2. Rosé Wine:
    • Serve chilled, usually around 45-55°F (7-13°C).
  3. Red Wine:
    • Light-bodied red wines (like Pinot Noir, Gamay): Serve slightly chilled, around 55-60°F (13-16°C).
    • Medium-bodied red wines (like Merlot, Zinfandel): Serve at cellar temperature, around 60-65°F (16-18°C).
    • Full-bodied red wines (like Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah): Serve at room temperature, around 60-68°F (15-20°C).
  4. Sparkling Wine:
    • Champagne and other sparkling wines: Serve well-chilled, around 40-45°F (4-7°C).

In summary, serving wine at the correct temperature allows you to fully enjoy its aromas, flavours, and overall character. It enhances the wine’s balance and ensures that you experience it the way the winemaker intended. It’s worth taking the time to serve wine at the appropriate temperature to fully appreciate its qualities.