Driz tips on the proper serving temps of wine
December 13, 2019
Flexing your host(ess) with the most(est) skills is a feat that requires prep. Snacks are a must, drinks are a given and the playlist has to be called 'legendary' at least once throughout the night. But since you've (probably) got the snacks and tunes covered, we just wanted to make sure you’re covered on drinks – specifically, serving wine to guests.
Wine serving temperatures tends to trip people up, because there's a lot of misinformation out there. But fear not; we've got you covered. Aside from choosing the perfect wines for your soirée, the serving aspect of the wines is just as important.
An important note: We know that serving temperatures can be a preference thing (or even a pretentious thing), so keep in mind that you don’t need to heed our advice here. But since you’ve already clicked onto this article, we assume you actually want to know a little more about the subject. So here we go...
If you’re looking for a wine temp cheat sheet, it’s this: Keep your whites in the fridge and take them out for about 30 minutes before serving. Keep your reds outside of the fridge and pop them in about 30 minutes before serving.
Above all else, you want your wines to be served at their ideal temperature to shine. However, different types of wine are meant to be served at different temperatures. The biggest piece of advice we can give you is to erase the mantra of 'reds at room temperature and whites served as cool as possible.' Because this is a MYTH. Chill your wine too much and it'll be muted and flavorless. Serve it too warm and it'll feel bland and flat. So if you don’t want your wine tasting like flat soda, read on.
Sparkling, light whites, and rosés - 45° to 50° F
You'll definitely want your bubbles, light whites (think Riesling, Pinot Grigio, and Sauvignon Blanc) and precious pinks served coolest of them all. Serving sparkling wine at this temperature keeps the bubbles fine and intact. For light whites and rosés, preserving freshness is key. Keep the wines cool enough to maintain that crisp, thirst-quenching acidity alive and well. White dessert wines should also be served chilled to showcase their balance and acidity.
Full bodied whites and light reds - 50° to 60° F
Fuller-bodied white wines (think Chardonnay, Viognier, and Rhone Blends) should be served slightly warmer than their lighter counterparts. If served too cold, you'll lose out on all of the complex aromas a fuller bodied wine has to offer. Lighter reds (think Pinot Noir, Gamay, etc.) will benefit from a little chill, highlighting their fruitiness and acidity.
Full bodied reds - 60° to 65° F
'Room temperature' for fuller-bodied reds totally used to be an acceptable statement. Then the whole central heating thing happened and now our average room temperature is 70°+ degrees. Since then, it’s chaos. The trick here is to keep the wines at a temperature similar to that of a cellar. If you find your wine is a little too cold, simply cup your hands around the glass to generate heat. May sort of feel like you're doing something spooky, but it'll get your wine to the right temperature.
Of course there are a few exceptions: Port wine can be served around 70° F, slightly warmer than fuller bodied reds. Vintage Champagne should also be served slightly warmer to pick up all of the delicious smells going on in the glass. If you keep your wines in a temperature-controlled unit at standard cellar temperature, your wines should basically be good go upon serving time, with whites and rosés thrown into the fridge for just a few additional minutes.
In a pinch and need a quick chill? Simply wrap a wet paper towel around your bottle and pop into the fridge for 20ish minutes, or until ideally chilled. And if a wine is just downright awful? Throw that thing in the freezer-- the flaws will be muted away in no time. Just take it out before havoc ensues.