Do you ever feel like you are the only one in your world that doesn’t understand wine? That you are forever bound to feel clueless while everyone around you understands so much more than you do? It just isn’t true, and I totally have your back on this one.
Today we are going to answer the questions, “What is the best temperature to serve wine?” and “What wine cooler temperature settings should I use?”
Let’s talk about how to serve wines at the best temperature every time, so you feel confident, your guests are happy, and the wine is delicious. I’m going to start off with the rules that most sommeliers will tell you. Then I’m going to tell you how you should break them. Because we don’t have to play by the rules! All we have to do is be happy with the way we like things.
When you’re dealing with sparkling wines, they should be served in the range of 42 to 50 degrees. Light white wines, like Pinot Gris, Riesling, Chenin, and Vino Verde, should be served in the same range as sparkling wines, 42 to 50 degrees. You’ll want to bump that temperature up about five degrees for dry Rosé from any part of the world. Sweet Rosé should be served at the same temperature as sparkling wines.
When you’re serving heavier white wines, bump it up another five degrees so you’re in that 50-55 degree range. I’m thinking about white wines aged in oak like viognier, chardonnay, and Old World style white blends. Those kinds of wines that have a lot of character and a lot of flavors will benefit from being served just chilled.
When you’re serving red wines-
When you are serving red wines, they actually want to be a little cooler than you might imagine. I think the typical thought is that if it’s on your countertop, it’s ready to roll. That’s not exactly the truth, and there are some reasons why. We are taking the same kind of perspective as we did with white wines. Things that are simpler and lighter in style should be served in the cooler range. Wines that have a lot of character, lots of tannin, really big wines, we’re serving at a little bit warmer temperature. Pinot noir and light reds, serve at 50 to 55 degrees. We’ll add another 5 degrees to that (55 to 60 degrees) for middle-of-the-road reds in terms of volume and body. When you’re dealing with Italian reds and big cabs, you can take those wines all the way to 65 degrees if you want to.
The thing that you have to consider and be concerned about is how cold to serve white wines. The reason is that the colder they get, the more muted the flavors will be. That means that you don’t want them in the thirty-degree range, straight out of the refrigerator.
The reason that you want to serve your red wines a little cooler is that when you go past that 65-degree mark for those bigger Reds, (a little bit lower for reds with less body) they tend to show more alcohol than fruit. That alcohol flavor isn’t necessarily the kind of thing that you’re going for. You want all of that flavor, and all that fruit, and all that earth, and not just the taste of alcohol.
This is how I typically approach handling what temperature to serve wine.
If I’ve got a white wine, I’ll pull it out of the refrigerator for about 20 minutes before I serve it. Keep in mind that your fridge is somewhere in the mid-30-degree range. You want a little bit of time to bring those wines up into the 40’s even 50’s. I typically keep my house at 70 degrees, so if I’ve got a bottle of red wine that I just bought or had on the counter for the day, I’ll actually put it in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes. I want to take it down from that 70-degree temperature that I keep my house and get it more into a targeted temperature for reds.
So really, that is the entire trick, the only thing you could do to improve the way that you serve wines. 20 minutes out of the fridge for whites and 20 minutes into the fridge for reds and they’ll be fantastic.
I also want to remind you that wine is all about you. It’s about what you like. I’ve been a winemaker for almost 20 years, and I know that I should, and everyone else should play by the rules of wine. The reality is that when it’s a hundred degrees in Lake Chelan, I put ice cubes in my red wine because it tastes better to me. So if you like your wines colder or you like them warmer, you like ice cubes in your glass, it really doesn’t matter because, at the end of the day, wine is about enjoyment.
Thank you for joining me today. Before you leave, be sure and subscribe to my youtube channel. There’s lots of great content for you here, and I don’t want you to miss a thing.