At the time I was introduced to the world of wine I was told that white wine was to be served chilled straight from the fridge and red wine drank at room temperature. However, since then I have learned that the serving temperature of wine is much more complex than that.
Research has discovered that when wine is served at the proper temperature it is much more enjoyable. When determining serving temperature we need to look beyond just the colour of the wine to the type or varietal of the wine. Serving wine at the right temperature will provide the intended flavour, character and bouquet of the wine.
However, let’s not go crazy here; determining the serving temperature of wine is by no means an exact science. There isn’t an exact optimal temperature for any particular wine. A difference of a couple of degrees won’t affect your taste experience.
When considering serving red wine at “room temperature”, what most people don’t realize is that room temperature has actually changed over time as building construction and materials have changed. At one time room temperature would have been a drafty damp 13o to 16oCelsius versus today’s average temperature of 20o to 23o Celsius. That is a significant change. If you normally serve your red wine at room temperature try chilling it in the fridge for 15 minutes prior to serving and see whether you prefer it chilled or not.
White wines on the other hand can be served too cold. If the wine is served too cold then both the flavour and bouquet may be stifled; but if served too warm they are not enjoyable either. White wine is best served between 7o and 10o Celsius.
The following chart indicates the suggested serving temperature for a number of the more common varietals of wine, as recommended by the experts:
|Varietal||Serving Temperature (oC)||Time in Fridge|
|Champagne/Sparkling Wine||7 – 10||30 – 40 minutes|
|Pinot Gris/Pinot Grigio||7 – 10||30 – 40 minutes|
|Riesling||7 – 10||30 – 40 minutes|
|Sauvignon Blanc||7 – 10||30 – 40 minutes|
|White Bordeaux Blends||10||30 minutes|
|Cabernet Franc||16||20 minutes|
|Cabernet Sauvignon||16 – 18||15 – 20 minutes|
|Malbec||16 – 18||15 – 20 minutes|
|Merlot||16 – 18||15 – 20 minutes|
|Pinot Noir||13 – 16||15 – 20 minutes|
|Red Bordeaux Blends||16 – 18||15 – 20 minutes|
|Syrah/Shiraz||16 – 18||15 – 20 minutes|
|Zinfandel||16 – 18||15 – 20 minutes|
Remember, these are suggestions only. You can try experimenting serving your wine at varying temperatures and see what works best for you.