Wine Serving temperature
The taste of wine is a combination of numerous key elements, each of which is dramatically affected by temperature. Any wine will only be at its best at the correct, recommended serving temperature.
With this in mind and glass in hand, lets dispel some myths from the get go.
Red wine isn’t best served at “Room Temperature”, in fact it never should be. Never serve white wine straight from the fridge. Every wine has an individual temperature at which it is best served. An at a glance guide for wine serving temperature:
- Sparkling wines 42–46°F (6– 8°C)
- Light white wine 42–46°F (6– 8°C)
- Medium white wine 48–52°F (9- 11°C)
- Full white wine 50–55°F (10– 13°C) (not fridge temp!)
- Light red wines 50–54°F (10– 12°C)
- Medium red wines 57–61°F (14– 16°C)
- Full red wines 61–64°F (16– 18°C) (not room temp!)
[two-columns]Lesser quality wines are better cooler and remember the cooler the wine the less aromatics it will have. So what happens when a wine is not served at its optimum temperature?
One point we will make is that serving temperature is a personal preference, however on many occasions the wine makers actually print on the label the recommended serving temperature, so why would they do this? Temperature is just a reference point, after all it is just a number on a scale…but what do these numbers actually mean? And what is the real effect temperature has when serving wine?
Wine is a fabulously emotive drink, which is probably why it’s the most popular alcoholic beverage in the world with over 31 billion bottles being consumed every year. Wine is made up from a range of different elements which all work together to give the wine its characteristics and feeling. Terms such as aroma, body, alcohol, acidity and tannins are often referred to when describing a wine, yet all of these are affected when the wine is served at different temperatures.
For instance Chardonnay, which is the most popular white wine in the world, when too cold the body of the wine is lost, it becomes thinner and watery. The fruit in the wine is muted which leads to a less than tantalizing aroma and the overall flavour will be diminished.
The same is true of red wines, which for the most part are served too warm. In this situation the body of the wine can be excessive and the alcohol content can be over powering. The complex tannins that are found in red wines are also affected by serving temperature by appearing either bitter or unfocused when the temperature is incorrect.
When a wine is served at its recommended temperature all of the elements of the wine become balanced and in harmony, and the drinker can get the full potential of the wine.
The following table shows the effect temperature has on the different elements of wine, the scale shows being too cold at one end, too warm at the other and conversely just right in the middle.[/two-columns]