Friday, November 16, 2012

What’s The Right Temperature For Serving Wine

Room Temperature….If You Live In A Castle!

Wine is usually served at the wrong temperature and that especially goes for wine you get at bars and restaurants. I’m always amazed when I order a glass of red wine and it arrives hot!

I once decided to find out why red wine was served hot, and the answer turns out to be simple. Most bars leave their open bottles of red under the bar lights, which turn into heat lamps for the wine.

The opposite is true of white wine; it’s usually served way to cold, so cold in fact that it’s hard to actually taste the wine. Bartenders keep them in the bar’s refrigerator that must be set to North Pole!

So what temperature should wine be served, especially when you’re having guests over? The common answer for some reason on red is room temperature. At one time that may have been correct. Let’s say in the 1200s or 1300s, if you lived in France, in a castle. And that would only be true if it was noon on a hot summer day. Unfortunately most of us don’t live in French castles!

Today room temperature is about 70 F which is way to warm for red wine. Serving it at that temperature will make the wine hot, flat and lifeless. You may even feel a burning sensation from the alcohol, and with the high alcohol in today’s wines that is not a good thing!

The colder the better when it comes to white wine is often the norm. The trouble with serving it cold is that cold takes away from the true taste of the wine, which is only good if it’s a bad bottle of wine! The better the white wine, the less cold it should be to get the true taste of the wine. Any white wine served cold will taste lighter and much less flavorful.

So what is the correct temperature for wine?

Most bottles of red wine should feel very cool when poured. A good range would be 62 F to 65 F. But lighter red wines, especially fruity ones should be served slightly chilled at around 58 to 60 F.

And a nice quality white wine should be served chilled not cold. A good range for these high end whites would be 58 F to 62 F. Less expensive white wines, rosés, blushes and sweet wines should be served colder between 50 F and 55 F.  However if you like your white wine cold, like a refreshing beer, then by all means serve it colder in the 48 to 53 F range. What you lose in flavor you’ll make up by enjoying the wine the way you like it!

You don’t need to carry a thermometer around to serve your wine at the correct temperature. Just feel the bottle and over time you’ll get it right. But a good trick with red wine is to put it in your refrigerator for around 15 or 20 minutes before serving. Expensive whites should not be stored in your fridge. Instead all you need to do is put them in for about 30 minutes, but remember you need to keep them chilled between pours.

For less expensive whites, sweet wines, blushes and rosés, as well as those of you who want your white wine colder, then keep them in the fridge and just take them out about 30 minutes before serving.

Ok, there you have it! Now you know the correct temperatures and the tricks to serving it right. Now go have some wine with friends and enjoy all it has to offer!


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  1. Greetings! Do you own any journalism experience or this is a pure natural gift? Thank you so much in advance for your reply.

  2. I have no journalism experience and my friends in the press would laugh at any thought that I’m a good writer. My only writing experience is that I’m in PR and write press releases and position papers. The true writers in my family are my three children. They all write better than I do and my youngest is a writer. I mainly just like wine and talking about it. I hope you like the blog and thanks for the comment. You can also follow the blog and get additional wine information on “The Neighborhood Wine Porch Party” facebook page. While you’re there please like the page and also join the blog at the top right side of this page. Cheers!! Harold