Everyone probably heard that white wine should be drunk chilled, and red wine should be consumed at room temperature. Why? Because we perceive different ingredients in wine differently at lower or warmer temperatures.
For example: the sweetness of a wine is not felt when it is too cold. This can be good in cases when the wine seems to be too sweet – just cool it very well and enjoy. The acidity is also less noticeable when the wine is cool.
However, in the case of red wines, the colder the wine, the more pronounced are its tannins. Therefore, it is possible to drink red with a small tannin content wines chilled, while wines with pronounced tannins will seem bitter and will not leave a pleasant impression. As a rule, it is better to judge the aromas of red wines when they are served just below room temperature. But, if they are served too warm, they might be dominated by the unpleasant smell of alcohol, which will overlay the subtle nuances of the wine.
So the basic rule is: the “lighter” the wine, the colder it should be, the more “full bodied” – the warmer. For the same reason, the sizes of wine glasses differ. Wine glasses for white wines are more compact so that the wine stays longer cold. Red wines, on the contrary, should breathe and reveal their aroma, therefore they are often served in large glasses.
Here is a short list of wines and the recommended temperature to serve. You’ll also find serving temperatures on the back of the individual bottles:
- Light white wines as Riesling, Pinot Grigio and sparkling wines: 8-10 C
- Other white wines with like Chardonnay, rose wines or Port wines: 12-14 C
- Fruity and medium bodied reds like Pinot Noir, Valpolicella or Beaujolais: 14-16 C
- Full bodied reds: 16-18 C. These are most of the Bordeaux, New World wines, Chianti Classico or some Cotes du Rhone.
We also advise to open full bodied red wines and wines with noticeable tannins one hour before consumption. They need time to reveal their full aroma.