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Five tips for Wine temperature


1. Why should wine be served at a given temperature ?


2. Chilled whites, chambré reds, and more …


3. How to store your wine at the right temperature for drinking ?


4. How to bring a wine to the ideal temperature for tasting ?


5. Carafing or decanting ?


2. Chilled whites, chambré reds, and more …

Not all wines exude their full richness at the same temperature. As a wine-lover, you will know that for each type of wine and vintage you must find this ideal temperature that will allow you to get the best out of the wine than you offer.

The old adage that white wines must be served chilled and red wines at room temperature, is a good guide. Nevertheless, certain professional prefer to use the term cooled – to avoid the temptation of serving too cold – and non-cooled, so that chambré or room temperature does not correspond to the average temperature of today’s dining rooms, kitchens and living rooms, that can be as high as 25°C. The term chambré goes back to the XVIIth century when a wine was served at room temperature, which was then around 16°C. Today we should consider 16°C as the lower limit for a chambré wine. Nevertheless this rule is not absolute and there are some exceptions.

Generally speaking, the following rules should be observed:

• No wine should be served under 6°C, for, to this temperature, the taste buds can no longer fulfil their role properly.
• Beyond 19°C, only very outstanding wines - and fortified wines - are able to deliver a non-oxidised aroma.
• The structure of a wine conditions its serving temperature. A light or very dry wine will have to be drunk cooler than a robust and complex wine whose tannins will be less aggressive at higher temperatures.

• A vintage wine can be served at a temperature several degrees higher than a younger bottle of the same wine. The same thing applies for an excellent vintage when compared with an average year.
• Certain rich, full-bodied whites can be served at a higher temperature than certain younger, fruity reds.

Ideally, every wine has an ideal temperature of tasting. You can use the temperature chart below to complete your experience.

 Temperature Type, region and grape variety
 19 et +  Fortified wines (Port, Madeira, etc.) and outstanding reds
 17 – 18 °C  Quality Bordeaux reds
 Côtes du Rhône, Chiraz, wines from South-West France
 and structured Bordeaux wines
 Cabernet, Merlot
 15 – 16 °C  Quality red Burgundies
 Younger reds from Bordeaux and Côtes du Rhône regions
 Quality dry whites
 13 – 14 °C   Vin Jaune
 Red Sancerre, Gamay, Pinot noir, Chinon, Bourgueil,
 young reds (Italy, Spain)
 Vintage whites
 12  Côtes de Provence and structured rosés
 Full-bodies reds, young Burgundies, Beaujolais
 10 – 11 °C  Sauternes, Jurançon, Vouvray, Alsace Late-harvest, Gewurztraminer, Tokay
 Vintage and prestige Champagnes
 Côtes du Rhône blancs
 Standard Rosés and Primeur wines
 8 – 9 °C  Natural sweet wines
 Chablis, Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Sémillon grape varieties
 Alsace, Moselle, Riesling, Rhin, Sancerre, Muscadet
 Young or dry whites and rosés
 Champagne, sparkling wines
 6 – 7 °C  Liqueur whites, Muscats

To check serving temperature, use a wine thermometer or a probe. Note that between the beginning and end of serving, the wine temperature can change considerably. It is therefore preferable to bring them to table 1 or 2 degrees cooler than the proper serving temperature. Really old vintage reds should not be left too long in the glass.

Wine Temperature