One of the biggest issues when serving wine is temperature. Is it too cold? Too hot?
No need to waste anymore aroma. We walk you through every wine, from white to red, with our handy temperature tables. And we let you know how to keep it cool.
The most commonly encountered issues when serving wine (including restaurants) are:
- Serving wines too cold, when that are normally served chilled.
- Serving wines too hot, when they are supposed to at room temperature.
Low temperatures prevent the flavors from expressing themselves. And high temperatures make alcohol too present. Beyond 68°F/20°C, the alcohol starts to choke the aromas and the wine appears unbalanced.
The ideal temperature will actually depend on several factors: the structure of the wine, its complexity, balance and also the ambient temperature.
Overall, a good wine can generally withstand a couple degrees more than a basic wine. You’ll therefore be able to enjoy its complexity. The same is true of older wines.
|45-46°F/7-8°C||Simple champagnes and sparkling wines; simple sweet wines|
|48-50°F/9-10°C||Late-harvest Alsace wines; sweet wines; lightly dry white wines|
|52-53°F/11-12°C||Dry white wines; semi-dry white wines; fine champagnes|
|55-57°F/13-14°C||Better dry white wines; yellow wines; other oxidized wines|
|59-61°F/15-16°C||Older oxidized wines|
|45-46°F/7-8°C||Simple pink champagne and other sparkling rosé|
|48-50°F/9-10°C||Light rosé wines|
|52-53°F/11-12°C||Fine rosé champagnes; classic rosé wines|
|55-57°F/13-14°C||Structured rosé wines; Marsannay wine|
|52-53°F/11-12°C||Light and fruity red wines|
|55-57°F/13-14°C||Beaujolais; wines with low tannin content; naturally sweet wines|
|59-61°F/15-16°C||Red wines with average structure|
|62-64°F/17-18°C||Bordeaux; Portos; red wines with strong structure|
|66-68°F/19-20°C||Exceptional and sophisticated wines|
Keeping wine cool
An ice bucket causes a drop in temperature that can be too brutal (and not always consistent with the bottle). However, the ice bucket is perfect for keeping bottles at room temperature on the table. In the summer, an ice bucket can even be used for red wines, in which case you should put very little ice.
Insulated sleeves, which can be placed beforehand in the freezer, are particularly effective to lower the temperature of a wine quickly (even if they have the same drawbacks as an ice bucket).
You can use an insulating sleeve to also slow the warming process, when the bottle is on the table.
Always bear in mind that the temperature of wine in the glass can rise up a few degrees in a few minutes.
- Sudden temperature variations, one way or the other.
- Heat sources that are too powerful. Never use a radiator or fireplace. You’ll invariably have a wine that ends up too hot. If you forgot to take out the wine in time, an ice bucket with some hot water should do the trick. Decanting wine into another container also helps to increase temperature.
- Cold sources that are also too powerful. Putting a bottle in the freezer should be a last resort. Never underestimate the risks of ending up with a bottle too cold, if not frozen.