I’ve heard it said that, in general, we drink our whites too cold and our reds too warm. I have been paying special attention to this as I have been tasting my way through France & Italy and I have noticed a slight difference in my tasting experience when the wine is served at the ‘recommended temperature’, so I wanted to share the broad guidelines with you.
DISCLAIMER: I said slight difference – if you are one of those rule followers (like me) that will read this, put a bottle in the fridge and check it every five minutes to see if it has come to temperature, it’s not worth it! Just keep doing what you do - it's gotten us this far.
White wine needs a chill to bring out aromas and acidity, but when served too cold, the acidity, fruit and sweetness may be masked.
Sparkling wines: Champagne, Cava, Prosecco - Well chilled 43-50°
Dessert/sweet wines: Sauternes, Sweet Muscats - Well chilled 43-45°
Light/medium-bodied whites & Rosés: Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc - Chilled 45-50°
Medium/full-bodied oaked white wine: Chardonnay, Chablis, Viognier, Fumé Blanc - Lightly chilled - 50-55°
When red wine is too warm, it can seem a bit flat and the alcohol more intense. Served too cold, flavors can seem muted and boring and the tannin can move to bitter. However, don’t overthink it - just keep 'studying' to learn your preferences!
Light-bodied red wine: Beaujolais, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc - Lightly Chilled 55°
Medium/full-bodied red wine: Cabernet Sauvignon, fuller-bodied Pinot Noir, Rioja, Shiraz, Châteauneuf-du-Pape - Room Temperature 59-64° (ummm whose room is this temp? Put the bottle(s) in the fridge for 20 minutes before serving.)
Fortified wines: Port, Madeira – Room Temperature 60-64° (see tip above, larger bottles may need more time in the fridge)
If you remember 40s for sparkling and sweet dessert wines, 50s for whites and 60s for reds and fortified wines, you'll be well ahead of the pack.
Penny, a SAVVY Staffer
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