Serving wine at the right temperature can be more important to getting the most out of a wine than just about any other factor. Serving wine that's too warm or too cold can make even the best wine taste bad while mediocre wines can really shine if you hit just the right temperature spot. The basic rule of thumb is to serve white wines at lower temperatures and red wines at slightly higher temperatures. Sparkling wines are served the coldest while ports and fortified wines are served the warmest.
How to Check Wine Temperature
The importance of serving wine at the right temperature raises the question of how you determine what temperature your wine really is. Without that information, how do you know if your wine is still too cold and needs to sit out a little longer, or if you wine has gotten too warm and needs to be put back in the refrigerator for a few minutes?
There are a couple of popular gadgets for monitoring your wine's temperature. The most common is a cuff that wraps around the outside of the bottle. Some have markings which remind you about the proper temperature for different kinds of wine and most are relatively inexpensive. There are also stick thermometers which sit in the bottle or glass, monitoring the temperature of the wine directly. These are probably more accurate and durable, but also more intrusive.
In the long term, the easiest means for determining if your wine is at the right temperature or not is to first learn by touch what temperature the bottle probably is and, second, by drinking the wine itself.
Wine Temperature Guide
Different wine guides will give slightly different temperature ranges; the ranges listed here are slightly broad to encompass the most varieties of wines.
Wine Temperature Guide
|Sparkling Wines & Champagnes||45-50||7-9|
|Expensive, Complex Champagnes||50-55||10-13|
|Rosé & Blush Wines||White Zinfandel |
|Inexpensive, Sweet Wines||Muscat, Muscadelle||48-54||9-12|
|White Table Wines||Chenin Blanc |
|Complex White Wines||Good Chardonnay ||55-60||12-15|
|Good Dessert Wines||Gewürztraminer ||55-60||12-15|
|Lighter, Fruity Red Wines||Barbera |
Grenache / Garnacha
|Stronger, Complex Red Wines||Cabernet Sauvignon |
Syrah / Shiraz
|Dark Sherry & Port||62-68||16-20|