Wine Tasting - Wine Serving Temperature

Wine serving temperature has a significant impact on the outcome of wine tasting. The maintenance of correct temperature while serving a wine is also vital when you are drinking it. Wine serving temperature has a marked effect on the taste of a wine. The old belief that white wines should be served chilled and red wines should be served at room temperature seems to be quite sensible but it is not entirely true.

The crucial point to remember here is that a wine should not be served too cold as that will cover up the actual flavors and aromas, while if it is served warm the wine will become flat and dull and the scent and flavor of alcohol will become prominent. This will defeat the very purpose of wine tasting. The right temperature for serving wines varies with their properties.

White wine serving temperature –
People usually serve white wines immediately after taking out the bottles from the refrigerator where it is stored at a temperature of 35°F. This is the right temperature for vegetables not wines.

The best serving temperature for a white wine is about 45°F. Wine cools at a rate of 4°F in ten minutes. It also warms up at the same rate. Hence to get the perfect temperature, take out the wine bottle from the fridge at least half an hour before serving it or if it has been kept outside cool it for the same time and serve it. Correct wine serving temperature not only improves its flavor but as a cool wine gradually warms up it releases its delicious aromas. This affects the process of wine tasting significantly.

Red wine serving temperature – The common belief that red wine is best served at room temperature is not really correct. The ideal temperature for serving red wine is around 65°F.  If served at temperatures higher than this a red wine will lose its flavors and aromas and will taste flat. It is always better to serve a red wine when it is cool and allow it to warm up gradually for about 15 minutes in the glass. This has an additional benefit as the wine then releases its aromas slowly and enhances the joy of drinking wine. It also helps in identifying the aromas during wine tasting. Red wines should be ideally stored at temperatures between 55-60°F.  

Sparkling wine serving temperature – Sparkling wines like champagne should be served at slightly lower temperatures than white wines. So you can serve champagne directly after you take out the bottle from the fridge when the wine temperature is about 40°F. But to really enjoy its flavors and aromas it is better to keep a sparkling wine out of the refrigerator for about 15 minutes before serving it.

Dessert wine serving temperature – There is no fixed range of serving temperature for these wines as there are a wide variety of dessert and fortified wines. Generally younger wines are served slightly warm while the mature ones are served colder. This aspect of wine tasting does not always get the attention it should but let me tell you that the slightest difference in the serving temperature can drastically change the taste of a wine

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