Wine: Service Temperatures

Serving wines at their ‘ideal’ temperature can greatly affect the experience and perception we have about the wine and/or the meal it is accompanying.  Below you will find a table that has proven to be both practical and helpful to me.  It allows the wine tasting experience to be more pleasurable

Wine Style Service
Examples Comments
Sweet Wine 6-8°C
Sweet Muscat
Cool temperature impedes the high acidity, high alcohol content & sweetness from overwhelming the palate
Sparkling Wine 6-8°C
Bubbly tends to have high acidity, which is balanced by the cool temperature
White: Light to Medium body 10°C
Sauvignon Blanc
Pinot Grigio/Gris
These wines tend to have high acidity and are normally unoaked; thus more suitable to be served chilled
White: Medium to Full body 12°C
High quality Chardonnay
White Burgundy: Chablis, Pouilly-Fuissé, Mâconnais…Fumé Blanc
Even though these wines have high acidity their body and susceptibility to express an array of characteristics allows them to be served at a lightly chilled temperature
Red: Light Bodied 12°C
Their relatively high acidity coupled with low tannins make these wines taste better when lightly chilled
Red: Medium body 15-16°C
Premium Pinot Noir
Ex. Red Burgundy:
Côte d’Or, Côte de Nuits, Côte de Beaune
Avoid masking the delicate, fruity flavor of this wine with cold temperatures
Red: Medium to Full body 17-18°C
Rioja (Crianza and older)
Bordeaux: Cabernet Sauvignon & Merlot
Rhône Valley
Amarone della Valpolicella
Vintage Port
Cold temperature makes red wines feel thin and harsh. These full bodied, flavorful wines exhibit themselves better at room temperature. Bottle should feel slightly cool

NB. In this context room temperature is taken to be between 17-18°C.  Normal room temperature tends to be a little higher than this (20-22°C), so don’t be scared to put your reds in the fridge (about 20 minutes for full bodied reds). Just be sure to take them out, and let them stand at least 10 minutes before serving.

Ice buckets help to keep wine at low temperatures or to cool wine faster than a refrigerator.  Fill a bucket three-quarters full with equal parts of ice and water, to fully surround the bottle with iced water.  Water will accelerate the heat transfer between the ice and the wine bottle.

Hope this was useful!

Wine & Spirit Education Trust. Wines and Spirits: Looking Behind the Label. London: 2005.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Ana says:

    Thanks for the temperature info and the ice bucket tip. Very helpful!

    1. Kitchenani says:

      You are welcome! Glad it helped :)

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