As the temperature keeps climbing in those humid summers or dropping to the abyssal depths during wintertime, a bottle of wine is never too far to comfort us. But… the observation is clear: red wine is usually served too hot and white wine is usually served too cold…Even in restaurants! And what about sparkling wines and champagnes? Here is a little essential guide to get out of it, without too much trouble…
A long time ago in my native Europe, it was always said that red wine should be served “chambré”, at room temperature. Imagine summer when it is 80 degrees and more and winter when we heat our cottages to over 70 degrees. As a result, the red wine with very present tannins and alcohol seemed so heavy on the palate.
But, serve it too chilled and the finesse of its aromas will disappear. Take a lighter Beaujolais-type wine or a Pinot Noir-based wine, and you will be deeply disappointed to drink it at room temperature. Ditto for white wine which will not seem very pleasant. But, serve it too cold and its subtleties will escape you. Why ? Because the serving temperature has a great impact on the aromas and taste of the wine. By serving the nectar at the right temperature, you are sure to get the best experience in the glass. But what is the rule? Or rather what are the rules?
Champagne and sparkling wines
For an aperitif where the bubbles of a light sparkling wine jump in the glass, we will be satisfied with 46 to 50 degrees. Colder than that, we would escape the subtlety of the wine and above all, we would risk dealing an almost fatal blow to it. On the other hand, when the time comes to celebrate “well” with a Champagne which in some cases could even be vintage, it can then be served a little more temperate, but not too much (54 degrees for non-vintages, sometimes 54-57 degrees for vintages). To reach these temperatures when you have just bought the bottle, and in case of emergency only, a short stay in the freezer should do the trick. To keep it at temperature, do not hesitate to keep an ice bucket close to you. To measure the temperature, there are many thermometers of all kinds and all prices. The choice is yours based on your budget.
Whites and rosés
The ideal temperature for expressive whites (Sauvignon Blanc and other lively wines) is between 48 and 51 degrees. A short hour in the fridge should do also the trick, even if the mercury drops a tad below this temperature. After all, by the time the bottle is served, the room temperature will whip it up the thermometer a bit more. The rule is the same for rosé. For fatter whites (Chardonnays and others), we should avoid going so low if we want to appreciate the full depth of certain grape varieties. Between 51 and 57 degrees seems like the right range. For the sweet or sweet Sauternes type, we will take care to serve them between 50 and 55 degrees.
And the reds, then?
It all depends on the grape varieties! But let’s say for simplicity that the reds are generally less acidic than the whites and have a structure built with tannins. Therefore, they can be served less fresh than whites. Young and light wines (Gamay, Pinot Noir) will be appreciated more when served at 57-61 degrees. While more robust and tannic wines will be better poured at 64 degrees. To cool them, a short 10-15 minutes in the fridge should be enough. Cheers !