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A Guide to Wine Serving Temperatures


Are you a stickler for keeping your bottle of white ice cold in the fridge or are you happy to let it sit around on the coffee table for the duration of the bottle? At the end of the day it’s a matter of personal taste. But to really get the most pleasure out of a bottle of wine (which, don’t forget, includes how it smells as well as how it tastes), serving your wine at the right temperature could be life changing. Here’s our guide to wine serving temperatures.

Warm me up

Allowing any wine to warm up too much risks those precious flavour and aroma compounds escaping as heat agitates the molecules in the wine, so you could end up buying a tasty bottle but letting the any possible enjoyment slip through your fingers. But conversely serving wine too cold can suppress the aromas and flavours, and enhances acidity, bitterness and tannin in a less than perfect bottle. So how do you strike the right balance? A lot depends on the colour of the wine and the main grape varieties in the mix.

How low can you go?


Let’s start with whites and rosés as the most obvious culprits for chilling. The more aromatic the grape variety, the more you can afford to chill it down. Aromatic varieties like Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling have the aromatic power to release their character straight out of the fridge (8-12°C).

Wines with more depth of flavour, body and complexity such as Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Viognier and Chenin Blanc should be served somewhere between fridge temperature and cool room temperature. (10-12°C) allowing the character of the wine to be released.


The same applies to rosés which behave like fuller bodied whites and benefit from being a few degrees warmer than fridge temperature to allow them to unleash their fruitiness on your nose and taste buds. However, if it’s a hot day and you are drinking them outside you may wish to serve them straight from the fridge to preserve their cooling capabilities.

Red hot

But should you ever chill reds? Serving reds at too warm a ‘room temperature’ (such as that of a centrally heated house) can often cause the vibrancy, fruit character and freshness of a wine to vanish into thin air. Heat also reduces the effect of acidity, breaking down a wine’s structure and making it taste ‘flabby’. Some New World reds can benefit from a slightly warmer temperature (15-18°C) to help kick-start the evolution in the glass but instead of direct heat, try transferring them to a warmer decanter or warming your hand on the bowl of the glass.


It may seem alien to many of us to chill reds but if you live in a warmer country, your opinion might differ. It is common practice to chill youngRioja and Chianti in the name of refreshment and Beaujolais is often served lightly chilled in summer months. Indeed any fresh, young red can taste best when chilled to around 10-12°C as coolness enhances the fresh fruit character in the wine.

Fortify yourself


Fino sherry is delicious served straight from the fridge (8-12°C), enabling you to close your eyes and imagine yourself sitting in the sunshine of Jerez. All sherries, no matter how sweet or dry should ideally be kept in the fridge as it helps to retain the flavour, especially if you are going to keep them for more than a few days.

Just desserts


Usually much sweeter than your everyday wine but hopefully with some balancing acidity to boot, dessert wines certainly merit a degree of chilling. Their often high alcohol levels benefit from being toned down by lower temperatures. Whites should be served cooler than reds (8-12°C) but reds are fine up to about 15-18°C.

Let’s get fizzical


Store sparkling wines in the fridge for a few hours prior to serving to slow down the release of the carbon dioxide which maintains the bubbles. But do take the bottle out a few minutes before pouring so the wine reaches 6-10°C andallow the flavour compounds to be released. On the other hand, don’t leave the bottle sitting around outside the fridge or ice bucket for too long as serving warm sparkling wines can make the bubbles that bit too volatile and result in a miniature hot-tub in your glass.

After all that talk of chilling reds, let’s just hope the weather merits chilling wines at all this weekend. Otherwise we could be heating through some mulled wine and lighting the fire!


By: Kate

***Grabbed from: