We often have people asking us about the ideal temperature to serve wine. While there are some guidelines, it really comes down to personal preference. At the end of the day it’s about enjoying wine your way. If you prefer your wine icy or warm, then that’s how you should drink it.
As for the guidelines, it does appear that how warm or cool we drink our wine can affect how it tastes and serving it at the right temperature can help you enjoy it even more! Generally, in Australia we tend to serve our white wines too cold and our red wines too warm.
Ideally white wines should be served somewhere between 7oC-14oC. As fridges in Australia are set somewhere between 2oC-4oC, white wines served straight from the fridge can be too cold. At higher temperatures more flavour compounds evaporate from the wine making the aromas more fragrant and flavours more prominent. The slightly higher temperature helps release all the characteristics of the wine that the winemaker wants you to experience. At colder temperatures the mouthfeel of the wine starts to disappear, and acidity can dominate. The more flavours the white wine variety has, the warmer you want to serve it – particularly oaked white wines like chardonnay.
We do suggest keeping your white wines in the fridge and bringing them up in temperature slightly before consuming. This can be done by letting the bottle sit out prior to drinking or warming the wine in your already poured glass with your hands. Remember if you want to maintain the wine in your glass at optimal drinking temperature, in summer it may be beneficial to pour smaller amounts!
We’ve all heard that red wines should be served at room temperature but when the benchmark for this comes from the 18 OC temperature of a dining hall in medieval France, this advice can be a little misleading! Obviously, ‘room temperature’ changes significantly depending on where you are in the world. In Queensland, room temperature is often hotter than the ideal red wine serving temperature of between 17 to 22 degrees. When red wine is too warm the alcohol becomes prominent and can dominate the subtle fruit aromas and flavours. Serving reds at a cooler temperature softens the alcohol flavours, allowing the wine’s characteristics to shine through. A lighter red such as Pinot Noir can be served slightly cooler than a full-bodied red such as Cabernet Sauvignon.
Fortunately, there’s an easy fix – simply leave your red in the fridge for half an hour to an hour prior to drinking. Our suggestion is to put it in the fridge before cooking dinner and it should be perfect by the time you’re serving!
While these guidelines can seem complicated, please don’t think we’re suggesting you need to test your wine with a thermometer to ensure the perfect serving temperature. What we do know is that not all wines are created equal and to increase your enjoyment of that special bottle, it might be worth paying a little more attention to its temperature. As always, we encourage you do to your own experimenting to decide what you like!