Wine Serving Temperatures

Stick with these guidelines when serving wine.


+ enlarge image If you like it, then it's the right temperature.

If a white wine is served too cold, the true character, flavor, and aroma will be diminished. If a red wine is served too warm, it will change the balance of the flavor components and hamper the taste of the wine. The old rule about serving a red wine at room temperature no longer applies because most rooms today are kept warmer than in the past. It's best if red wine is chilled ever so briefly (10 minutes in an ice bucket or 30 minutes in the refrigerator) to bring it to the correct temperature. Here are a few temperature guidelines.

Type of Wine Serving Temperature
Champagnes and sparkling wines 45 degrees F
Sauvignon Blancs and Rieslings 45 to 55 degrees F
Chardonnays 55 to 60 degrees F
Lighter reds (Beaujolais, Pinot Noir) 55 to 60 degrees F
Sauternes 58 to 62 degrees F
Cabernet Sauvignons and Merlots 60 to 65 degrees F
Ports 62 to 65 degrees F
Storage Temperatures: Wine will age more quickly if stored at warm temperatures (70 degrees F or so). Fluctuations in temperature are not good for wine either. Therefore, it is best to store both red and white wines in the refrigerator, where you know they won't get warm or experience wild fluctuations in temperature. (Of course, if you have a wine cellar, you should store your wine there.) Store bottles on their sides to keep the corks from dying out.
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