Hot and cold: the right temperature to serve wine
Author: Berry Bros. & Rudd
Most people do not use a temperature gauge for their wine service at home because they learn to match their preference with their fridge temperature. Chilling wine emphasises acidity and/or tannin, but can dull aroma and flavour. For this reason, most prefer to:
Gently chill (one hour in the fridge/outside on a cold evening):
- Complex subtle whites (such as white Burgundies) so as not to obliterate their delicacy
- Vintage Champagnes and other sparkling wines
- Sweet wines
Well chill (two hours in the fridge/outside on a cold evening):
- Whites that have high acidity and not much aroma, such as easy-drinking wines (eg house whites in restaurants)
- Intensely aromatic whites such as Sauvignon Blanc
- Non-vintage sparkling wines
- Light reds such as Beaujolais
Serve at room temperature (cool is better than too warm)
- Reds that have medium to high tannin
The quickest way to lower the temperature of a bottle is to immerse it in a bucket of ice and water. Note – not just ice: the water carries the chill. Don’t use a freezer: pressure will build and the bottle can explode.
Also resist the temptation to heat wine in a microwave or put it on a radiator if you feel it needs heating up. It cooks the wine and spoils its delicacy. Warm wine gently by cupping the wine in the glass with your palm.