Everything You Need to Know About Wine Temperatures
Temperature impacts the flavors of everything we eat and drink, including our favorite glass of red or white wine. Wines have an optimal storage range so they develop (age) in the bottle correctly, and they also have an optimal serving range so flavor and enjoyment are maximized – and the true intent of the winemaker is delivered in the glass.
Here’s everything you need to know about the ideal temperatures for storing and serving your wine:
Storing Your Wine at the Right Temperature: 55°F
It’s a common misconception that red wine and white wine need to be stored at different temperatures. Ideally, red and white wine should be stored at a temperature of 55°F.
Cooler than that, and you’ll dry out the cork, which could let air into the bottle and harm the wine. Much warmer, and you’ll age the wine more quickly than desirable, flattening the flavors and aromas.
Generally, if wine is exposed to a high temperature (77°F or higher) for long periods of time, it can change the taste. Wine stored well above 55°F might develop a rasiny or stewed flavor.
Wine develops more slowly and naturally at low temperatures. The lower the temperature, the slower it ages. But if a wine is exposed to a cold enough temperature – about 25°F – it may turn slushy or freeze, causing the cork to be pushed out, or the bottle itself to crack.
Put simply, wine has a better chance at developing complexity and aroma if it’s aged in a cool, 55°F environment like the temperature of many basements and cellars. But if your house’s floorplan doesn’t allow for a basement wine cellar, it’s best to keep your wine in the refrigerator.
Serving Your Wine at the Right Temperature
It’s generally known that Americans serve red wine too warm and white wine too cold. A few degrees here or there won’t drastically affect the flavor profile of your wine, but you want to loosely adhere to these ideal temperatures for serving red and white wine.
Red Wine Serving Temperature: 55°F – 65°F
Serving red wine at room temperature is not always the best call for a red. It’s like walking a fine line. If the wine is too cold, the tannins and acidity of red wine are more pronounced. But if it’s too warm, the dominant taste is bitter alcohol. The recommended serving temperature for a red wine also varies with the variety. Pinot Noir is best served between 55-60°F, while Merlot, Syrah, Zinfandel, Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon are best served between 60-65°F. If you’re storing your wine in a warm area, such as your kitchen, put a bottle of red in the fridge about 30 minutes before you’re ready to serve it.
White Wine Serving Temperature: 45°F – 50°F
While red wine should be served “cool,” white wine is best served cold. But a few notches too cold and you might miss out on the flavor of the wine completely. Chardonnay and White Bordeaux blends are typically served at 50°F. Pinot Gris, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc, however, are ideal served at 45-50°F. Sparkling white and champagne are best served chilled at 45°F. If your fridge was too full for that bottle of white, make sure you squeeze it in for about two hours prior to serving it to ensure that it’s brought down to temperature.