As even the most casual wine enthusiast knows, temperature is one of the most important aspects of drinking and storing wine. But what is the perfect temperature for wine? The heat and cold can affect the overall taste and texture of wine, so temperature is a crucial characteristic when serving and storing wine. However, not all wine is created equal; the ideal serving temperature for wine really depends on the type of wine you're drinking and storing—and whether you’re planning on storing it for the short term or the long term.
A General Overview of Wine and Temperature
The temperature you store your wine is vital. If you’re not carefully storing wine long-term, if the temperature fluctuates, it can severely damage your wine. Any temperature higher than 70 degrees fahrenheit will cause the wine to age more quickly and will rob the wine of its unique aromas and flavors. Although you can still drink and enjoy your wine if you go slightly off temperature, it will affect the overall taste; it is best to keep the storing and serving temperatures of your wine in mind to maximize its taste.
It’s important to note that each type of wine has to be served at its own unique temperature. Below is a temperature guideline to how to best serve various types of wine:
- Tart, bright white wines: 48-52° F
- Sparkling wine: 50-55° F
- Rich white wines, like an aged chardonnay: 58-62° F
- Light red wines (Chianti, Beaujolais, young pinot noir): 60-65° F
- Heavier red wines: 63-68° F
The guideline above will help you determine the perfect temperature for wine, but at the end of the day, how you serve your wine will come down to personal preference. However, a useful rule of thumb for what temperature to serve wine is to know how much fruit, tannin, and alcohol that wine contains. These three factors give you a good approximation to what temperature is best to serve a particular wine. There higher quantity these three things are found in the wine, the warmer the wine will need to be served at.
You should never serve or store wine long-term at anything above 70° F or below 45° F. Both extreme cold and extreme heat will affect the taste of the wine. Long-term storage in these extremes can also damage and ultimately destroy wine, so be very careful and considerate to how you store your wine.
Champagne and Sparkling Wine
The best way to serve champagne and sparkling wine is frigid. And yes, it’s perfectly fine to throw your bubbly in from the wine cooler to the freezer to cool it down. Just don’t leave it in there for too long: the cold interacts with the carbonation which can cause the bottle to explode.
If you want an alternative and rather not throw it in the fridge or freezer, just set the bottle in a bucket of ice. Placing your sparkling wine in a bucket of ice is a quick way to cool down the bottle evenly without having to worry about the bottle or its contents exploding. To enjoy the full experience of the bubbles, and the way they enhance the flavor of the wine on your palette, it’s best to keep the bottle on ice while you drink.
White Wine And Rosé
White wine and rosé should be served cold, but not too cold. In order to get the full flavor of your whites and rosés, you’ll want to serve them between 45° F and 50° F — with lighter, acidic wines a bit cooler and richer whites on the warmer end. White wine and rosé can be stored at similar temperatures, which makes a single zone wine cooler an ideal unit if you’re primarily keeping whites and pinks.
Although red wine is served at a warmer temperature than other wines, it still served relatively cold at just slightly below room temperature; a common mistake that restaurants and dinner party-throwers alike make is serving reds at or above room temperature, especially if they’ve just been pulled out of a warm storage area.
If you serve reds too cold, however, the taste of the wine will change. A dual-zone wine cooler from KingsBottle is the perfect storage solution for red wines, as it gives you the advantage of being able to keep your whites and reds in one single unit, but stored at different temperatures. That way, you won’t have to worry about sticking your red wine in the fridge and setting the timer.
You may want to consider letting your red wine chill to a degree lower than its ideal serving temperature, as you’ll likely want to let your red wine breathe for a few minutes after opening. By the time the red wine comes back to its ideal serving temperature, it will have had just enough contact with the air to oxidize and bring out the full flavor of the wine.
If you're serving a Pinot Noir, for example, the perfect temperature for this wine is between 55-60° F, which brings out the subtler strengths of this lighter bodied red. A Merlot, on the other hand, contains medium levels of tannin and acidity and should be served at about 60° F and 65° F which is slightly warmer. Syrahs, which are typically bolder and richer bodied reds, are served just below room temperature at 65° F, but are stored around 55° F. So when you serve a Syrah, you’ll want to let it warm up before you can drink in order to get the best taste.
Treat Your Wines Like Royalty
As we mentioned previously, the best serving temperature for your wine is ultimately up to you and your personal preferences. Whatever those may be, consider keeping your bottles stored at the perfect temperature with KingsBottle wine coolers and beverage refrigerators—that way, you’ll never have to think twice about the perfect temperature for wine.