Serving temperatures are important in wine. Temperature dictates a great deal about how wines will taste, particularly with red wines. In most modern homes, room temperature means somewhere between 70-78ºF. This is not an ideal temperature for serving wine. To maximize your wine's aromas and flavors, you need to serve them below this temperature.
White Wine Target Temp = 50-52ºF
You’ll want to refrigerate white wines prior to drinking them. Most refrigerators are between 37 to 41 degrees. That's perfect to get them chilled! Then, you’ll want to take them out for a few minutes before drinking them. This allows the wine to warm up a bit, to about 50 to 52 degrees. At that temperature, you’ll begin to get the full flavors of your white wines.
You really don’t want to serve your white wines too cold (most of the time) because you’ll lose a lot of flavor and nuances of the wine. That said, mediocre whites can be served ice-cold because the temperature masks any flaws the wine may have.
Red Wine Target Temp = 65-72ºF
Reds are a bit trickier. It depends on the age and texture of the wine. Generally speaking, the serving temperature for reds should be between 65 and 72 degrees.
Now, it's important to note that reds are best when stored between 56 and 65 degrees. To achieve the proper storage temperature, the most important thing to remember is "consistency is king!" Don’t sweat minor deviations like several degrees. You just don't want big and frequent temperature swings in your storage area. If you have a basement, that's a great spot for your wine. The typical room temperature in a dug-out, in-ground basement ranges from 56 to 64 degrees, and it remains pretty constant throughout the year.
For tips on how to achieve the proper storage temperature, check out my video "The 6 Key Elements of Successful Wine Storage" or my video "How to Build a Wine Cellar: 5 Pro Tips that will Transform Your Wine Storage Experience." Even though you may not be building a wine cellar, these two videos will give you some great pointers.
Back to serving temperature, a simple and effective way to bring your reds up from their storage temperature to that target temp of 65-72 is decanting. While decanters look cool, they actually have a lot of purpose! We covered this a few weeks ago in our blog post "How to Decant Wine and Why it Actually Matters." I encourage you to check that out.
If you found this post helpful, send it to a friend who needs a subtle reminder that they serve their wine too warm!