Wine Serving Temperature Chart
What's the big deal about storing a wine at a certain temperature? Simply put, wine is a perishable good. Storing a fine wine at 100° will cause it to lose its flavor, while storing it at 0° will cause as much damage.
The trick with wine is to store it at a stable, ideal temperature, and then to serve it at a temperature which best shows off its personal characteristics.
Wine Serving Temperature Guidelines
||Red Burgundy , Cabernet
||Rioja , Pinot Noir
||Chianti , Zinfandel
||Tawny/NV Port , Madeira
||Ideal storage for all wines
||Beaujolais , rose
||Viognier , Sauternes
Most of the enjoyment that comes from drinking wine involves its aroma. Taste only has four aspects - sweet, sour, salty, acid. The nose does the rest. Vapors are created as wine warms up, so the wine needs to be a few degrees below its ideal drinking temperature for this to work. Room Temperature is rarely 'wine drinking temperature' - if you're in the Indian Ocean on a yacht, you hardly want 100° Chardonnay! How about Houston in July? Warmth makes white wines taste dull. Few homes are regulated to match wine-drinking temperatures.
So throw out the old "refrigerate all whites, drink all reds at current room temperature" adage. Here is a chart to indicate in general best temperatures for drinking wine at. Remember, though, that you also want to keep in mind the temperature of the room relative to this 'idea temperature'. If your room is 60°F and you are serving a fine Burgundy, perhaps chill the Burgundy to 58°F to allow it a little warming up in the glass. Fridges do well for cooling a wine when necessary, but for warming I prefer to warm it with my hands, glass by glass.
If you run into someone hooked on Room Temperature, have them imagine drinking a fine ice wine in Barrow, Alaska in February. At that temperature, even a wine meant to be chilled will still taste like ... strange water.
If you're more interested in what to do with that extra half bottle you have left over at the end of a day, read up on our comparison of half-bottles left over after 3 days ! This experiment pitted the various wine storage systems against each other, and sees which truly helps save a wine for drinking later on.
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