What's the right temperature to serve wine at?

I include in the wine notes on our website, recommendations from our experience, or the grower's, about the temperatures at which their wines should be served. But by all means drink it at the temperature you prefer :)

If possible, allow the bottle to reach the serving temperature naturally. Forced heating or cooling is to be avoided, although if like me you decide at the last minute you want to try a different wine, ice sleeves are your friend.


Room Temperature is too hot

In general in bars and restaurants in the UK red wine is served too warm. I used to think it was just laziness and bad storage, but I was wrong.

To my surprise in many cases people, staff and customers, think that red wine it to be served at room temperature and that this means around 22°C which is the typical room temperature these days. I have had wine served to me as high at 25 degrees. The wine loses complexity at those temperatures!

When people said that room temperature is what wine should be served at, they meant that the wine would be brought up from a cellar at 12 degrees up to a room which was at 18 degrees, often less, so they meant 16 to 18 as a "room" (chambré) temperature


Fridge temperature is too cold

Conversely, I find that often white wine is served too cold - often 5 degrees! This is fine for simple wines, but anything complex deserves a few more degrees for the flavours to come out. I like it most whites 10 and 12°C, even higher for some of the complex whites, white merlot, and unfiltered Chasselas.

Of course, if you room is at a temperature of 20 degrees, it won't take long for your white wine to reach optimal temperature after you take it out of the fridge.


Chilling reds

In the summer it is impossible to keep a red wine at optimal temperature. You either chill it, or drink it too warm. Generally speaking, red wine which is oaked or has a lot of tannins and sugar will not chill well, as the chilling will hide sugar and acidity but leave that tannins and oak. So these wines you should just drink warm, or keep for cooler days.

On the other hand, any "crunchy" unoaked red will chill quite well - gamay, pinot, unoaked austrian reds and swiss gamaret all chill very well. Perfect picnic and barbecue wines!

There are many reds I drink slightly chilled all year.

Categories: Wine Advice
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