Wine School: Serving Temperature 101

Wine School: Serving Temperature 101

This past weekend, the Fiancé and I spent Sunday evening out on the fire escape enjoying the warm weather, chilled glasses of wine in hand, while music played in the background. It was the perfect kick off to Summer.

I opened up a bottle of Field Theory Albariño. It was crisp with notes of lemon and white peach. Coming from Lodi, CA this wine is not as mineral driven as an Albariño from Spain, where the grape thrives. It was a fun expression of what the grape can do in a different climate.

This week, today in particular, is proof that the hot and humid weather is officially here to stay. Many people (including myself) are starting to reach for lighter style wines. What's better than a chilled glass of wine on a warm summer day? Not a whole lot. But what's important is making sure that wine in your glass is chilled accordingly. By serving the wine at the correct temperature, you'll be getting the most out of the bottle you bought. And that's really what we all want in the end, right?

Serving Temperature of Wine

When people think about serving temperature of wine, most will say whites are served chilled, reds are not. However, there's a little more to serving temperatures than those two notions. Flavours become muted if a white wine is too cold,  if it's too hot, it will taste flat. Tannins become harsh when a red is too cold and alcohol will be overpowering if it's too hot.

By serving wines at their ideal temperatures, we're getting the best experience. The wine can show off it's unique characteristics at the right temps.

Here is a guideline to make sure you're getting the most out of your wine.

Medium to full-bodied, oaked white wines: lightly chilled, 50° - 55°F

These are your California Chardonnay, White Burgundy, and Fumé Blanc.

Light/medium-bodied white wines: chilled, 45°-50° F

Think of your favorite New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, Muscadet, Pinot Grigio, and Fino Sherry.

Sweet wines: well chilled, 43°-45°F

Yummy Sauterne and Eiswein.

Sparkling Wines: well chilled, 43°-50°F

All the bubbly - Champagne, Cava, Prosecco.

Light-bodied red wines: lightly chilled, 55°F

Perfect summer reds - Beaujolais, Pinot Noir, Valpolicella.

Medium/full-bodied red wines: room temperature, 59°-64°F

Your California Cabernet Sauvignon, Australian Shiraz, Barolo, Red Bordeaux, Rioja, and Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Take note of the temperature. Although it says room temperature, many rooms are not actually 59°-64°F. Most reds can benefit from 10-15 minutes in the fridge to bring their temperature down.

Storage of wine is very different than serving temperature. The brief version is this - store bottles at a constant, cool temperature, ideally ~55° F. If they have a cork, keep them flat on their sides. This keeps liquid in contact with the cork so it will not dry out and allow air to get in contact with the wine (big no-no).

Stay cool this weekend, friends. And make sure you're chilling your wines appropriately! A lot of work goes into making this fermented grape juice we all love.



all images original to Pardon My French blog

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