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Wine tip - not too hot and not too cold: ideal serving temperature for wine


The question of what temperature to serve your wines at is not as simple as it seems. Different people have different feelings about service temperature – especially as it relates to white wine. Some people feel that chilling a white wine dampens the aromatics of the wine, and that it should also be served at room temperature. Generally speaking, however, people agree on certain fundamental rules when it comes to different types of wine. What follows is a standard ‘best practice’, ranging from coldest wines to warmest wines.

Cheap Sparkling Wines should be served considerably colder than other wines. Sparkling wines as a whole prefer colder temperatures, and for lower-end wines chilling them further will make them more palatable. The recommended temperature is 36°-39°F (2°-4°C).

Cheap Whites and Rosés should also be served on the cooler side, though not as chilled as their sparkling counterparts. This includes most bulk German and Austrian whites, as well as lower-end whites from Spain and Portugal. The recommended temperature is 40°F (5°C).

Higher-End Sparkling Wines should be served chilled, but not overly chilled. This includes Champagne, as well as good Asti and Cava. The recommended temperature is 43°F (6°C).

Good Dessert Wines should also be served chilled, but slightly warmer than good sparkling wine. This includes Sauternes and good muscat. New World dessert wines will generally be served 1°C warmer than Old World dessert wines of a similar caliber. The recommended temperature is 45°F (7°C).

Light-Bodied and Medium-Bodied White Wines will be served cool, but not too cold. This includes Chablis, most chardonnay from the New World, and sauvignon blanc. This is probably the most contentious category for chilling. Traditional wisdom says to chill these wines down to 48°F (9°C), while many people these days prefer to keep them slightly warmer, at 50°F (10°C).

Full-Bodied White Wines and whites that have been significantly oaked will want to be kept warmer than their lighter-bodied counterparts. White Burgundy is a good example of this type of wine. The recommended temperature is 52°F (11°C), though again some may choose to chill the wines a bit more than that.

Fruity Red Wines such as Beaujolais, younger Spanish and Portuguese red wines, and Sancerre are the coolest of the reds. The recommended temperature is 54°F (12°C).

Red Wines generally are kept warmer as their body becomes heavier. So a good Madeira would be kept at 57°F (14°C), a good Chianti or zinfandel at 59°F (15°C), and a nice pinot noir at 61°F (16°C).

Heavier Red Wines are kept even warmer. New World cabernet sauvignon, as well as pinot noir from Burgundy, is best served at 63°F (17°C). Even fuller-bodied wines – such as great Bordeaux, spicy syrah/shiraz, and aged ports – should be served at 65°F (18°C).


As we can see, for good wine the temperature range is surprisingly broad – 43°F (6°C) to 65°F (18°C). When in doubt, a rule of 60°F (15°C) for red wines and 50°F (10°C) for white wines should serve you well.


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