Serving Wine at the Right Temperature

Wednesday, November 29th, 2006 at 12:00 am

wine serving temperatureThe temperature at which a wine is served has an impact on its taste. Serving wine cool will mask some imperfections-while a warmer wine temperature allows expression of the wine’s characteristics.

A bottle of wine will cool 2 °C (4 °F) for every ten minutes in the refrigerator, and will warm at about this same rate when removed from the refrigerator and left at room temperature. If you need to chill a bottle of wine in a hurry, 35 minutes in the freezer will do the trick.

65°F / 18°C
Australian Shiraz, California Cabernet Sauvignon, Rhône Wines, Vintage Port

63° / 17°C
Bordeaux, Châeauneuf-du-Pape, Ribera delDuero, South African Pinotage and Catalonian, Chilean, and Australian Cabernet

61°F / 16°C
Red Côte d’Or Burgandy, southern French Reds, southern Italian reds, Rioja, Toro, Australian and California Pinot Noir, Tawny and Ruby Ports

50°F / 15°C
Côte Chalonnaise, Douro red table wines, young Zinfandel, Oregon Pinot Noir, New Zealand Cabernet and Pinot Noir, Oloroso and Cream sherries, Bual and malmsey Maderias

57°F / 14°C
Chinon, Bourgueil, northern Italian and Washington State Cabernet Sauvignon, Valpolicella, young Chianti

54° – 55°F / 12 – 13°C
Young Beaujolais, red Sancerre, Bardolino, Lago di Caldaro, young Sanish and Portuguese reds, vin de pays

50°F / 10°C
California and Australian Chardonnay, Sauternes, top white Côte d’Or Burgundy, sweet German Wines, Rhine and Mosel Kabinett and Spätlese, Tokay, Australian liqueur Muscat, Italian oaked Chardonnay, oaked white Rioja, Fino and Amontillado Sherries, sercial Maderia, white Port

48°F / 9°C
Good white Pessac-Léognan and Graves, north-eastern Italian whites, Washington State Chardonnay, Chilean Chardonnay, Australian Semillon, New Zealand Chardonnay

46°F / 8°C
Alsace, Chablis, Côte Chalonnaise and mâconnais whites, dry German wines, Franken wines, Austrian Riesling, English wines, Australian Reisling, Cabernet and grenache rosé

45°F / 7°C
Good Champagne and Sparkling wine, Sancere, new York State, Chilean and New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc

43°F / 6°C
White Bordeaux, Muscadet, Anjou, other Sauvignons, Asti, unoaked white Roja

41°F / 5°C
Qba German wines, Soave, young Spanish and Portuguese whites, Vinho Verde, Swiss Chasselas, Austrian Grüner Veltliner, cheap rosé

36° – 39°F / 2 – 4°C
Cheap sparkling wines

It is best to keep the bottles in an upright position.  Also, do not leave them in a closed car which is parked in the sun.   With excessive temperature, the wine and air inside the bottle will expand and possibly cause leakage of the wine past the cork.  Some leakage will not spoil the wine, but excessive leakage will create additional air space in the bottle.  Over time, this will contribute to the browning of the wine.   The heat itself will accelerate the aging of the wine.  

If the wine is consumed young, the heat effect will be insignificant. When you reach your destination, if you intend to store the wine on its side, allow the wine first to reach the temperature of the room where it will be stored.