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How Do I Choose the Best Wine Serving Temperature?

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  • Written By: M.R. Anglin
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 21 August 2016
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The best wine serving temperature depends on the type of wine that is being served. Many red wines should be served within a temperature range of 54-65° F (12-18° C) depending on the type. In contrast, the ideal wine serving temperature of a white wine is 43-52° F (6-11° C). Judging from these ideal temperatures, it is clear that a red wine should be served warmer than a white wine. It should be noted, however, that both wines are best served below room temperature.

Serving a wine at its ideal wine serving temperature is important because the temperature can affect the drink’s taste. When a red wine is too warm, it can taste too alcoholic. If too cold, the flavors could become muted, and the acidity and the tannin’s astringency can come on too strong. A white wine’s flavor can also become muted if it is served too cold. It is important, then, for a person to chill the wine to the proper temperature before serving.

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It has been said that red wine should be served at room temperature. This guideline may have contributed to many individuals serving wine warmer than at the ideal wine serving temperature. It should be remembered that the idea of serving a wine at room temperature likely came from a time when “room temperature” for many was around 61-64° F (14-18° C). In today’s world, air conditioning and heaters can change that temperature. It should also be remembered that cooling or warming a wine should be done gently so as not to destroy the wine’s flavors.

For a red wine, a glass served just below the ideal wine serving temperature may be the way to go. Serving the wine one or two degrees colder than the ideal temperature will allow the wine to warm up in the glass, releasing the aroma and flavors of the wine. To reach the ideal temperature, a person can chill a bottle of red wine in the refrigerator one hour before serving or, if all else fails, chill it in an ice bucket. White wines chilled in the refrigerator may come out too cold. So it may be best to store the wine in the refrigerator and remove it about an hour before serving.

In general, the more complex the wine, the warmer it should be served. For example, the ideal temperature for champagne is about 43-47° F (6-8° C), but a Shiraz, which is a spicier, more intense red wine, is best served around 63-65° F (17-18° C). Generally, sparkling wine’s ideal wine serving temperature is colder than most other wines — about 43-47° F (6-8° C). A medium or light bodied white wine is best served at around 48-50° F (9-10° C), while fruitier reds and full bodied whites are best served 52-54° F (11-12° C). The richer, full bodied red wine’s ideal wine serving temperature is warmest of all — about 63-65° F (17-18° C).

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