Were you taught at a relatively young age that white wine is served chilled, and red wine is served at room temperature? I know I was. But what do these words mean? Does chilled mean 35 degrees directly out of the refrigerator? Not always. Does room temperature mean a comfortable 72 degrees. No. This article explores the best temperature to serve wine. Note that the temperature will differ depending on the type of wine.
While some white wines are perfect at 35 degrees, many whites can benefit from a little bit of warming. Chardonnay benefits the most from warming, since some of its flavors truly hide out until the wine warms up slightly.
With red wines, the teachers of old failed to include an important footnote in their lesson about room temperature – that the reference is to room temperature in France before central heating! So 60 to 63 degrees is what you’re looking for.
The good news is that these variations in temperature are pretty easy to achieve. From laying a bottle in the fridge or freezer (using a timer, please), or in ice water, to setting a chilled bottle in a warm part of the house for a bit — fiddling with just the right temperature can be done pretty quickly without fancy equipment.
For those who require a bit more guidance, you can view tables or slides to really dial into the perfect temperature. There’s even a “wine timer” app to determine proper wine temperature and satisfy your inner wine geek.
But I think the most fun way to find a wine’s optimal temperature is to have a taste test. Taste tests are standard activities in our household, and cover everything conceivable from cheese to olives to wine. Taste tests are the only way you can really determine what you like, love or hate.
Take several of the same bottles (or glasses) of wine. Leave one bottle (or glass) on the table and put the others in the fridge at different times. You’ll then get to compare a non-chilled bottle (or glass) with ones that have been chilled for 30, 60 and 90 minutes respectively.
Record the bottles’ temperatures, and take notes about your preferences. Try to keep any accompanying food equal in taste and temperature throughout your experiment. If you still think you can taste subtle distinctions, keep going! You see, sometimes the journey is as much fun as the discovery.