Perfect Serving Temperature
Here are some guidelines on serving temperatures for different wines, as well as quick fixes for chilling down or warming up a bottle.
Think Like Goldilocks
When it comes to serving temperature, a wine should be just right.
Too hot and the wine’s alcohol will be emphasized, leaving it flat and flabby. Too cold and the aromas and flavors will be muted and, for reds, the tannins may seem harsh and astringent.
Too often, white wines are served straight out of a fridge while reds are opened at a toasty room temperature, neither of which are ideal.
What’s “just right” for you is a matter of individual taste, but here are some general guidelines:
1. Light dry white wines, rosés, sparkling wines: Serve at 10° to 12° C to preserve their freshness and fruitiness.
2. For sparklers, chilling keeps bubbles fine rather than frothy. This is also a good range for white dessert wines; sweetness is accentuated at warmer temperatures, so chilling them preserves their balance without quashing their vibrant aromas.
3. Full-bodied white wines and light, fruity reds: Serve at 12° to 15°C to pick up more of the complexity and aromatics of a rich Chenin or to make a fruity Shiraz more refreshing.
4. Full-bodied red wines and Ports: Serve at 15° to 20° C —cooler than most room temperatures but for us in India the average room temp is 27° C. So ideally we should stick the range above to get to make the tannins in powerful Cabernet or Syrah feel more supple and de-emphasize bitter components.
How do you know if the wine has reached serving temperature?
The easy way is to touch the bottle and guesstimate; it should at least be cool to the touch. After enough trial and error from opening and tasting, you’ll learn what feels “right.”
Warm Up or Cool Down
Need a quick fix?
If the wine is too warm, immerse it in a mix of ice and cold water—this chills a bottle more quickly than ice alone because more of the glass is in contact with the cold source. It may take about 10 minutes for a red to 30 minutes for a Champagne. You can even stick a bottle in the freezer for 15 minutes. (Don't forget it though or it may freeze and push the cork out!)
If the wine is too cold, decant it into a container . If the wine is only a little cold, just pour it into glasses and cup your hands around the bowl to warm it up or just leave and it would be just right to Enjoy !
Keep in mind that a wine served cool will warm up in the glass, while a wine served warm will only get warmer. It’s always better to start out a little lower than the target temperature.