Wine Basics | What is the best serving temperature for wine?

Wine Basics

What is the best serving temperature for wine?

The mistake most people make when they’re serving wine is to pour 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! They vary too. My new fridge is much quicker and more efficient than my old fridge.

* 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.

Recommended serving temperatures

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 such as 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 such as 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. Many people are used to drinking their reds slightly warmer than this though so you may want to make that a degree or so higher.

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

in other words ‘cool room temperature’. (See above comment, though)

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

Often in half bottles so should chill in the fridge from 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

Photograph © demphoto

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Comments: 2 (Add)

Nick Brett on November 19 2018 at 11:51

Ah. So my 50 mins in the freezer for Sac Blanc is a no/no then!

philip burnside on November 16 2018 at 09:33

Almost agree with the temperature guides, though I think the fridge is the worst place for white wine

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