News and views | A quick guide to wine serving temperatures

News and views

A quick guide to wine serving temperatures

The mistake most people make when they’re serving wine is to serve whites too cold and reds too warm. Assuming you haven’t got a handy wine thermometer here’s a quick guide to the ideal temperature for different styles of wine:

Six tips to remember:

* chilling wine improves inexpensive whites and rosés but can dumb down richer, more expensive whites such as chardonnay.

* even full-bodied reds benefit from being served cellar cool rather than at room temperature (which can easily reach 23°C plus during a party)

* How cold - or warm - you want your wine may also depend on the time of year and the weather - a little warmer in winter, a little colder in high summer.

* If your fridge is stuffed with food it will obviously take longer to chill your wine.

* Magnums will take longer to chill than standard bottles which in turn will take longer than half bottles.

* The easiest way to cool a large number of wines is to plunge them into a large plastic bin filled with ice and water (not just ice). Far quicker than the fridge.

Sparkling wine and non-vintage champagne 6-8°C (43-46°F)

2-3 hours in the fridge

Vintage champagne 8-9°C (46-48°F)

1 1/2 - 2 hours in the fridge

Dessert wines (excluding fortified wine like madeira, port and sherry) 6-8°C (43-46°F)

2 hours in the fridge (though half bottles may take less)

Crisp dry white wines like pinot grigio and sauvignon blanc and aromatic whites like riesling 8-9°C (46-48°F)

1 1/2 hours to 2 hours in the fridge

Richer, full-bodied whites like chardonnay 10-11°C (50°-52°F)

1 hour in the fridge

Rosé 8-10°C (46°-50°F)

1 1/2 hours in the fridge

Light reds such as pinot noir and gamay 12-14°C (59-57°F)

1/2-3/4 hour in the fridge

Medium-bodied reds such as Bordeaux, Chianti and Rioja 15-16°C (59-61°F)

‘cellar temperature’ or, if you don’t have a cellar as most of us don't, the temperature of an unheated room

Full-bodied reds such as shiraz and malbec 17-18 °C (63-65°F)

in other words ‘cool room temperature’

Fino and manzanilla sherry 10-11°C (50-52°F)

Often in half bottles so should chill in the fridge within 3/4 of an hour to an hour

Amontillado sherry and tawny port 12-14°C (59-57°F)

1/2 an hour in the fridge

Image © food pictures studio -

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