What is the Ideal Temperature for Serving Wine?

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Each wine is unique and has its own special charm. Different types of wines are served differently. For example, red wine and white wine should be served in different kinds of glasses. The different shapes accent different aspects of the wine, such as aroma and flavor. Different types of wines should be served at different temperatures as well.

No matter the age of a certain variety of wine, for example, a dark red wine like merlot, the temperature it should be served at is generally uniform. Dark red wines are generally all served at the same temperature, and likewise with white wines. Below is a list of each kind of wine and what their optimal serving temperature is.

  • Dark red – eg. Merlot, Bordeaux, Cabernet Sauv, Rioja – 63-66° F (17-19° C)
  • Light red – eg. Pinot Noir, Burgundy, Zinfandel, St. Laurent – 54-61° F (12-16° C)
  • White wine – eg. Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Riesling – 46-54° F (8-12° C)
  • Sparkling wine – eg. Cava, Champagne, Cremant, Prosecco – 41-46° F (5-8° C)

There are a few things you should take note of when serving wine. Serving a wine too cool will conceal some of its flavor. Serving a wine too warm will make it dull and flat. Once poured into your glass, wine will begin to change temperatures, so if your wine is at less than optimum temperature when it’s served, be sure to account for ambient temperatures and also be aware of how you’re handling the glass. Be careful not to let your wine get hot, or else it may get ruined.

If the glass begins to show mist when pouring, that’s a good way to tell that it’s well chilled. You can also use your hand to check and see how cool the bottle is.

Red wine should be served slightly chilled, actually below room temperature. Some people may like their red wine served a little warmer than others, but “room temperature” has evolved over the years and now that central heating is commonplace, room temperature has actually increased.

White wines can be chilled in the fridge, but not stored there. The constant fluctuation in temperature inside a refrigerator is not good for the wine. It’s okay to put your white wine in the fridge 45 minutes before serving though.

When serving wine, the glass should never be more than 1/3 full for reds and 1/2 for whites. Beyond these points, the wine may warm up too much considering that it will take longer to finish the glass. If you enjoy always having wine served at the perfect temperature, then you should consider investing in a wine cooler.

How long you can keep wine after opening depends on whether the wine is fortified or not, and also what kind of wine it is. If it is fortified, it may be able to last up to 28 days, but if not, 3-5 days is the general rule. Light wine and rose wine will stay good for a bit longer than average, about 5-7 days. Sparkling wine stays good for less, around 1-3 days. Boxed wine will stay good for about 28 days in the fridge. Nearly everything else falls in the 3-5 day range. And as an important measure, make sure all containers are kept sealed when storing.

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