How Warm or Cool Should I Serve Wine?

How Warm Or Cool Should I Serve Wine?


How cold should I drink white wine? What about red wine? For most white wines in most circumstances, refrigerator temperature is fine – the same is true for rosé sparkling wines and dessert wines. Red wines, in everyday situations, can be served at room temperature.

Even though simple refrigerator and room temperatures are acceptable, a more nuanced approach to chilling wine can result in better flavor and more expressive aromas. In this article, you’ll learn how to serve your wines at the best temperature for the most enjoyable experience.

How Temperature Affects Wine

As a wine cools, the intensity of aroma and warming sensation of alcohol diminish. On the other hand, cooler wines tend to have more pronounced tannins. When a wine is warmed, the opposite occurs – the bouquet and perception of alcohol increase while the tannins become smoother. Red wines are seldom served chilled because they become thin and harsh, whereas warm white wines lose much of their freshness and vibrancy.

Red Wines

Ideally, red wines should be served around 60° F, with more tannic wines, like Cabernet Sauvignon, being served slightly warmer at about 65°, and less tannic wines, like Pinot Noir, slightly cooler – around 58°. You’ll notice that the whole temperature range is cooler than the typical room temperature of 72°. If you have a wine cooler, you can set the exact temperature. If you don’t, you can simply put your bottle of red in the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes before you serve it. The temperature doesn’t have to be precise for the wine to be enjoyable. In summary, serve red wines slightly cooler than room temperature.

White Wines

Most white wines taste best around 55° F. Light, crisp wines like Sauvignon Blanc can be served cooler, at about 50°, and richer, rounder wines like Chardonnay taste good slightly warmer – around 55°. These recommendations are quite a bit warmer than the typical refrigerator set between 35° and 40°. Keep in mind that many dinner guests will be used to drinking white wine very cold and will not enjoy anything warmer than about 45°, so you might want to use these warmer temperatures for smaller gatherings and special bottles of wine. The additional aromatic intensity and complexity that come with slightly warmer wine will be well worth it. Once again, you don’t have to measure exact temperatures if you don’t want to. Simply remove your white wine bottles from the fridge about 15-20 minutes before serving.


Dry Rosé

These wines benefit from a cool serving temperature of around 50° F. They are often served in the summer – sometimes outside – so a cool initial serving temperature will keep them from warming up too quickly in the glass.

Sparkling Wines

The refreshing character of sparkling wines is best showcased by a brisk, cool temperature. They also maintain their effervescence when cooler. Most sparkling wines are best enjoyed at around 45° F. The exception would be for older vintage Champagne and Franciacorta, which have delicate, complex flavors that show up best around 55°.

Sweet Wines

Sweet wines like Moscato D’Asti should be served about 50° F, as their residual sugar makes them seem cloying as they warm. Sauternes and Port – though they are both sweet wines – should be treated as white and red and served around 55° and 60° respectively.

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