Wine 101: Serving Temperature Matters

In many ways wine is like food. One of those ways is that wine will taste best when it’s served at the right temperature.

In many ways wine is like food. One of those ways is that wine will taste best when it’s served at the right temperature.

Think about pizza. It can still taste good if it’s cold, but it’s better if it’s hot.

It’s the same with wine. If wine is served too warm or too cold it can dramatically impact the way a wine smells and tastes.  

By serving wine at its ideal temperature, you get the best experience.

Let’s start with the technical stuff, and end with an easy hack.

Different types of wine have different temperatures at which they show best. In general, white wines should be served cooler than reds. There four temperature ranges for wines. The mid-point of each range is the sweet spot.

  • Ice cold (38-45°F); For sparkling wines and sweet (dessert) white wines
  • Cold (45-55°F); For light to medium-bodied such as unoaked Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, or Verdejo and most still rosé wines
  • Cellar (55-60°F); For medium-plus to full bodied white wine such as Chardonnay, Viognier or Roussanne and light-bodied reds as Cinsault or Pinot Noir
  • Room (60-68°F); Full-bodied red wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Zinfandel or Port-style dessert wines.

If that’s more than you care to think about, here’s an easy hack:

Put red wine in a fridge or an ice bucket for 15-20 minutes (especially on a hot day) before serving. Likewise take a white wine that has been in the fridge or an ice bucket for some time out for 15-20 minutes before serving.

Remember these are guidelines. Always trust your taste and let what you like guide you. Be willing to experiment with the serving temperature of the various wines you enjoy (maybe pick up two bottles of your favorite Lodi wines, rather than one) and see what you like best!

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Martin Redmond

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