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Wine Serving Temperature

Serving temperature of a wine is a fundamental aspect which allows the proper appreciation of its organoleptic qualities. The following table summarizes the serving temperatures for the many styles of wines.

 Young whites10-12 °C (50-54 °F)
 Mature whites12-14 °C (54-57 °F)
 Young and light rosé10-12 °C (50-54 °F)
 Mature and bodied rosé12-14 °C (54-57 °F)
 Nouveaux reds10-14 °C (50-57 °F)
 Young, light and slightly tannic reds14-16 °C (57-61 °F)
 Mature, bodied and tannic reds16-18 °C (61-65 °F)
 Aged reds18 °C (20 °C) (65 °F (68 °F))
 Sweet and aromatic sparkling wines8 °C (46 °F)
 Sweet and aromatic red sparkling wines10-12 °C (50-54 °F)
 “Charmat method” sparkling wines8-10 °C (46-50 °F)
 “Long Charmat method” sparkling wines10-12 °C (50-54 °F)
 “Classic method non vintage” sparkling wines8-10 °C (46-54 °F)
 “Classic method vintage” sparkling wines10-12 °C (50-54 °F)
 Sweet wines10-18 °C (50-65 °F)
 Fortified wines10-18 °C (50-65 °F)

White Wines

White wines are usually more acid than red wines and, as opposed to them, they have less tannins and, therefore, the sensation of astringency will be low, practically imperceptible. As an acid beverage is usually more pleasant when served at low temperatures, white wines are not generally served at high temperatures. Preferred temperature for this type of wines usually ranges from 10 to 14 °C. (50-57 °F) Young, fresh and aromatic white wines can be served at 10 °C (50 °F) whereas the least aromatic ones are served at 12 °C (54 °F) Smooth and mature white wines, aged for some years in bottle, can be even served at higher temperature, from 12 to 14 °C (54-57 °F)
Serving a white wine at a higher temperature than these, would allow its “sweet” character to come out more evidently and the acid character, welcomed and appreciated in whites, will be diminished.

Rosé and Blush Wines

The service of rosé wines usually follows the same rules applied to white wines. However it is important to consider the quantity of tannins sometimes contained in this kind of wines; in this case it will be better to serve them at a higher temperature in order not to increase astringency. Young rosé wines, not tannic, are served from 10 to 12 °C (50-54 °F) whereas the more robust and structured ones as well as mature ones, can be served from 12 to 14 °C (54-57 °F).

Red Wines

Serving temperature for red wines is dependent on many factors, but as they usually have a “tannic” nature and are less acid than white wines, they generally are served at higher temperatures. Young red wines, having little tannins, are served from 14 to 16 °C, (57-61 °F) whereas full bodied and tannic ones can be served at 18 °C. (65 °F) Red wines aged for years in bottle, having a full body and lots of tannins, can be served at 18 °C (65 °F), or, exceptionally, at 20 °C. (68 °F)
Young red wines, having little tannins and structure, can be served from 12 to 14 °C (54-57 °F) at this temperature they can be enjoyed without any astringency. This rule also applies to “new wines”, such as Beaujolais Nouveau: thanks to the wine making process used to produce them, they have little tannins and good aromas, therefore they can be served at low temperatures.

Sparkling Wines

Because of the many types of sparkling wines available, stating a general rule valid for every type would not make much sense. White sweet and aromatic sparkling wines, such as Asti Spumante, can be served at a temperature as low as 8 °C; (46 °F) as these wines are very aromatic they can tolerate low temperatures without compromising bouquet.
Red sweet sparkling wines, such as Brachetto d'Acqui, can be served at temperatures ranging from 10 to 12 °C; (50-54 °F) the same general rule about smells is applied here as well, the most aromatic red sparkling wines tolerate temperature as low as 8 °C (46 °F), whereas the tannic ones should be served at higher temperature and as high as 14 °C. (57 °F).
Dry or Brut sparkling wines produced with the “Charmat Method” or “Martinotti Method”, such as the Prosecco di Valdobbiadene e Conegliano, can be served at temperatures ranging from 8 to 10 °C. (46-50 °F)
Particular attention should be paid to sparkling wines produced with “Classic Method”, such as the Franciacorta, as well as for the ones produced with “Méthode Champenoise”, such as the Champagne. This wines are usually served at temperatures from 8 to 10 °C, (46-50 °F) however when vintage or “millésime” wines are being served or important sparkling wines aged for some time, the temperature can also be 12 °C (54 °F) in order to encourage the development of complex aromas that were patiently and slowly formed and developed during the course of time.

Fortified, Passito and Sweet Wines

The common characteristic found in these style of wines is, generally speaking, the high quantity of alcohol and, most of the time, they are sweet as well. However there are fortified dry wines, such as some types of Marsala and Jerez (Sherry) Finos, that, although they have some sugars in it, they are not generally and significantly perceived. The serving temperature for these wines should be determined according to what it is wished to be perceived the most. In case it is wished to accentuate the sweet taste of the wine as well as the complexity of aromas and their austerity, it will be best to serve them at a high temperature, from 14 to 18 °C (57-65 °F) but remember that the alcohol will also be accentuated as well. In case it is wished to accentuate their freshness, or in case of an exceptionally sweet wine where this aspect should be diminished, it will be better to serve them at a lower temperature, from 10 to 14 °C. (50-57 °F)
Fortified dry, fresh and young wines can be even served at a lower temperatures even lower than 10 °C: (50 °F) in this way the perception of alcohol will be greatly diminished; however it is wise remembering that the lower the temperature, the lower the development and perception of aromas. The pleasantness and the complexity of these wines' aromas, is a welcome and interesting aspect: serving them too cool would explicitly scarify this aspect.

To Know More

  Issue 1, October 2002, Corkscrew
  Issue 2, November 2002, Corkscrew

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