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Wine Temperature

With wine, different styles require different temperature.

Serving wine too cold masks its aroma and flavor. Cold also brings out any bitterness in the wine. But, serving a wine too warm will make it seem flat and dull and overly alcoholic.

The Right Temperature to Serve Red Wine

To protect red wine against vaporization and loss of bouquet, it is served at a slightly cooler temperature than the average room, or around 65°F (18°C).

Because warmth reduces the astringent taste of tannin, to lower the sharp flavor of red wine high in tannin, serve it at a warmer temperature than an aged red wine low in tannin.

The Right Temperature to Serve Light-Colored Wines

Light-bodied wines are served chilled. In general, the sweeter the table wine, the colder it is served; this reduces the cloying taste. However, if chilled too long, light-colored wines lose their bouquet and taste.

  • Chill white wine, rose, and dessert wine in a refrigerator for 30 minutes to 3 hours before service.
  • Chill champagne or sparkling wine for approximately 1 hour.

How to Chill Wine in an Ice Bucket

chilling white wine, rose, and dessert wine in an ice bucket
  • chill white wine, rose, and dessert wine in a large container filled half with water and half with ice.
  • add salt: water speeds the melting process of ice, and salt increases the rate of chill.
  • to promote an even chill, submerge a bottle up to the neck in water.
  • to speed the rate of chill, gently twirl the bottle so the wine comes in contact with the cool sides of the bottle.
  • white wine, rose, and dessert wine chill in an ice bucket in approximately 10 to 15 minutes.
chilling champagne and sparkling wine in an ice bucket

To chill champagne and sparkling wine in an ice bucket,

  • fill the container with half water and half ice, but do not add salt; the mineral causes rapid chill, which causes the flavor to deteriorate.
  • champagne and sparkling wine chill in an ice bucket in approximately 30 to 45 minutes.

Chilling Wine in a Freezer

  • chill white wine, rose, and dessert wine for approximately 5 to 10 minutes, and
  • champagne 10 to 20 minutes or until the bottles are cool to the touch.

Wine Temperature Guidelines

  • Sparkling wines and young, sweet white wines: 40 to 50 degrees F
  • Most whites: 43 to 53 degrees F
  • Rich, full-bodied whites: 50 to 55 degrees F
  • Light reds: 50 to 60 degrees F
  • Medium-bodied reds: 55 to 65 degrees F
  • Bold reds: 62 to 67 degrees F

- , Editor, Etiquette Scholar

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