What’s the Best Wine Temperature Just Before Serving?

We all absolutely love finding that perfect wine to serve at dinner parties and events, or for brunches and date nights. White wine, red wine, sparkling, or rose, everyone has a favorite wine style for each occasion. How we serve those wines, however, can make a huge impact on the aromatic bouquet that we smell and the depth of flavors that we taste once we start pouring them. It turns out that wine temperature is crucial.

If the wine is served too cold, then the wine has little aroma, or, in the case of a sparkling wine, fewer bubbles. If the wine is served too warm, then the wine tastes of too much fruit forwardness and acidity. To make matters more complicated, different wines should technically be served at different temperatures to bring out their ideal aromas and flavors. Confused yet? Fear not! We've made wine temperature easy! To make sure you serve wines like a pro from this day forward, we have compiled a cheat sheet on your behalf. No longer will wine temperature be a point of stress! Read on to find the perfect temperature for your favorite bottle of vino.

Sparkling Wines - Getting Your Bubble On

When it comes to celebrating special occasions or entertaining at the holidays, sparkling wines are usually peoples' go to choice of vino. While we all know that these bubbling beauties should be chilled before serving, the question that tends to arise is ‘how cold should a wine that needs to be chilledbe?'

Champagne Sparkling Wine

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While all champagne is sparkling wine, not all sparkling wine is champagne. Technically, the only sparkling wine that is allowed tobe called Champagne is vinted in the Champagne region of France, and is most commonly produced from a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier grapes.

To experience the utmost in aroma, flavor, and sparkle, the wine temperature for champagne should be between 47 to 50 degrees Farenheit (8-10 degrees Celscius). However, when serving a vintage champagne, the serving temperature should be slightly higher, at around 54 degrees Farenheit (12 degrees Celscius). The slight increase in wine temperature encourages aroma development in older vintages that have been aging longer.

Prosecco Sparkling Wine

Prosecco is Italian sparkling wine. It's known for its larger bubbles and fruity aroma and is produced from a blend of Glera, Chardonnay, Pinot Bianco, or Pinot Grigio grapes, but must always have a minimum of 85% Glera. Generally speaking, prosecco has a yeastier, slightly sweeter aroma and flavor than sparkling wines like champagne or cava, and in many cases, is used more as a palatte cleanser or apéritif.

When it comes to the wine temperature, like Champagne, Prosecco should be served at a chilly 47 to 50 degrees Farenheit (8-10 degrees Celscius) to ensure maximum bubbles, aroma, and flavor.

Cava Sparkling Wine

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Cava is Spanish sparkling wine that is produced from a blend of the Macabeu, Parellada, and Xarello grapes, and often includes other regionally grown grapes like Garnacha, and Monastrell, in addition to Chardonnay or Pinot Noir. Cava is most similar to champagne and can be produced as a white or rose. Similar to champagne and Prosecco, cava should be served at a wine temperature of 47 to 50 degrees Farenheit (8-10 degrees Celcius).

Whites and Roses - the Chilled Divine

White Wines

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Regardless of which white wine you plan to serve, whether it be a Chardonnay, a Sauvignon Blanc, a Pinot Gris or Grigio, or even one on the sweeter side like a Riesling or Moscato, the wine temperature will definitively be similar. White wines tend to have more acidity than red wines and fewer tannins, which make the wine's aftertaste much dryer. Therefore, any wine of the white variety will taste better at a cooler temperature.

The cooler the temperature, the less the sweet character of the wine will come to the forefront and the more acidity will be prevalent. This is especially important in white wines, as the acidic character is what is most appreciated with these vintages. As a standard, the wine temperature for whites should be kept at a chill 50-57 degrees Farenheit (10-14 degrees Celscius). If the vintage is of an older age, it's safe to err on the higher side of that range.

Rose Wines

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For a wine to be designated as a rose, it is simply a matter of the juice from the grapes being strained from their skins during the winemaking process, before the juice becomes too dark. Grenache, Sangiovese, Tempranillo, Syrah, and Cabernet Sauvignon are all some of the most popular grapes that are used in rose vintages.

These particular wines, while similar to whites, tend to have more tannins than white wines due to the initial use of the skins of the grapes during the juicing process. Therefore younger, less tannic varietals will be best servedin a similar manner to white wines; between 50-54 degrees Farenheit (10-12 degrees Celscius), More mature rose wines tend to be more robust and, as such, are best served at a slightly higher temperature, between 54-57 degrees Farenheit (12-14 degrees Celcius).

Red Wines – to Cool or Not to Cool

The Warm Lusciousness of Red Wine

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Red wines are today's sexy, populist wines of the varietals. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sangiovese, Syrah (also known as Shiraz if it's produced in Australia), even Tempranillo, Malbec, or Pinot Noir: it does not matter where on the globe the grapes are grown. Red wines tend to be more tannic, robust, and flavorful than their white, rose, and sparkling counterparts.

These highly flavor nuanced, tannic vino options pair perfectly with many entrée options and are a friend to charcuteries worldwide. While they are the perfect counterpart to the aforementioned food options, and especially to cold weather frivolities and cozy date nights, these particular wines still absolutely require an adherence to proper serving temperature techniques.

The key to wine temperature with red wines is paying attention to the age of the wine itself. The younger the wine, the less tannic and, therefore, the lower the serving temperature. As wines age, the tannins become more prominent in their flavor structure. If you want to serve a red at the perfect temperature, then pay attention to the age.

For younger reds, ideal serving temperature is between 54-57 degrees Farenheit (12-14 degrees Celcius). For more mature red wines, with full body and high levels of tannins, the ideal wine temperature will be closer to 65 degrees Farenheit (18 degrees Celcius).

Temperature Lessons of the Reds

The lesson here is this: if you plan on serving a young red like a Beaujolais, or a seriously low budget red like a Charles Shaw, serve it on the lower range of the temperatures. Between 50 and 54 degrees Farenheit (10 - 14 degrees Celcius) will hide the imperfections and boost the acidity. If you're serving a properly aged, mid to higher budget red like a higher end Cabernet Sauvignon or a mid range Malbec, go for the higher degree of the serving temperature spectrum, for example, around 54 - 57 degrees Farenheit (13 - 16 degrees Celcius).

The Final Word

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Regardless of what vintage or varietal of vino you plan to serve at your shindig, basic wine temperature guidelines apply. Reds or more tannic wines are best served at slightly warmer temperatures, while whites and sparkling wines are best served at the lower end of the temperature spectrum.

Obviously, there are variations to the rules. Younger wines in any vintage will be lighter bodied and therefore more aromatic and flavorful when served at a lower temperature. Older vintage and more tannic wines are best when served on the higher end of temperature spectrum to emphasize their tannic qualities.

Regardless of the wine or the temperature, it's always a good idea to chill the wine to just under the optimum temperature, then decant it to allow it to warm to the proper temperature just prior to serving. If you are serving a fabulous lower end red wine, err on the side of slightly more chilled to enhance its acidic qualities and mask its lack of robustness. If you are serving a sparkling wine, avoid chilled glassware as it will render the wine too cold and diminish its sparkling capacity. Uncork, pour, and enjoy!

Wine Optimum Serving Temperatures

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(Remember to serve wines warmer if they are an older vintage)

Wine

Temperature

Champagne

47 - 54 degrees

Prosecco

47 - 50 degrees

Cavu

47 - 50 degrees

Chardonnay

50 - 57 degrees

Sauvignon Blanc

50 - 57 degrees

Pinot Gris / Grigio

50 - 57 degrees

Sauvignon Blanc

50 - 57 degrees

Moscato

47 - 54 degrees

Riesling

47 - 54 degrees

Cabernet Sauvignon

52 - 65 degrees

Pinot Noir

50 - 60 degrees

Malbec 

52 - 65 degrees

Merlot

52 - 65 degrees

Tempranillo 

50 - 60 degrees

Sangiovese

50 - 60 degrees

Danial Jones
 

Danial lives in the Rocky Mountains with his wife, a medium-sized dog, and an attack cat. Before he started writing wine fridge And cooler related articles, he experimented with various occupations: computer programming, dog-training etc. But his favorite job is the one he’s now doing full time — writing articles.

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