It happens to all of us. We sample a delicious wine at a wine tasting and buy it so we can so we can enjoy the wine at home. You open up the wine and while you still find it enjoyable, it doesn’t taste as good as it did at the wine tasting. The difference that you taste is most likely due to the temperature at which the wine was served. Wine temperature is commonly overlooked when serving wine. Temperature affects the taste and aroma of wine.
If a white wine is served too cold, the true character, flavor, and aroma will be held back. If a red wine is too warm, it will change the balance of the flavor and make the wine seem dull.
Red wines often also need a little chilling. The room temperature that many believe to be the ideal serving temperature for red wines is no longer correct since we have warmer houses nowadays with insulation and central heat. To serve red wines at the right temperature, you can pop it in the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes before serving.
When trying to serve white wines at the best temperature, it’s important to remember to not overdo the cooling process. Most people believe that you can keep a white wine in the fridge and serve it directly from there. But the problem is that most of us keep our refrigerators at about 35-38 degrees, which is too cold for a white wine. You can tell a difference by pouring a glass of wine from a bottle directly from the fridge and comparing it to a glass that you take out and let slowly cool to about 45 degrees. You will taste a difference and more aromas will be released with the slightly warmer one. If you did not have your white already in the fridge, you can gently cool it in the fridge or cool the wine in a bucket of water and ice if you’re looking for a quicker option.
Here is a general range of serving temperatures for different types of wine courtesy of Better Homes and Garden:
Type of Wine
Champagnes and sparkling wines
45 degrees F
Sauvignon Blancs and Rieslings
45 to 55 degrees F
55 to 60 degrees F
Lighter reds (Beaujolais, Pinot Noir)
55 to 60 degrees F
58 to 62 degrees F
Cabernet Sauvignons and Merlots
60 to 65 degrees F
62 to 65 degrees F
Because the temperature of the wine plays such an important role in the taste and aroma of the wine, pay close attention to how you store and serve it. If uncertain about serving temperature, always err on the side of caution and serve the wine a little too cold. If very cold, cupping the hand around the body of the glass will encourage the wine to warm. Remember, if you are enjoying the wine, it’s the right temperature for you.