It is said that most American's drink their white wines too cold and their red wines too warm. And I've certainly observed this myself. Wine flavors can be amazing, but serving a wine too cold or too warm can significantly affect a wine's flavors. While the serving temperature that is just right for you is a matter of individual taste, there are some common rules of thumb.
When it comes to light white wines, sparkling wines and rosé, the common thought is that they should be served in the range of 40 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit (F). A more full-bodied white wine, such as Chardonnay, should be served in the 50 to 60 F range. And as you can see, these temperatures are well above the typical refrigerator temperature of 34 F. When a wine is served too cold, the flavors are not allowed to fully come out. So you end up with flat, bland or weak tasting white wines.
A friend of mine recently commented that he had never really liked Chardonnay. He was more of a red wine drinker. But during a winery visit he had been served a Chardonnay and really liked it. Not just because it was a nice Chardonnay, but because it was being served well above the refrigerator temperature that he was used to. So at the proper temperature he got to truly experience all the flavors of Chardonnay for the first time. It was a real eye opener for him.
For red wines, the lighter and fruitier ones can be served in the range of 50 to 60 F with full-bodied reds being in the 60 to 65 F range. These temperatures are well below 'room temperature.' Serving a red wine too warm can make it more harsh, exaggerate the tannin and enhance the mouth-feel of the alcohol causing a burning sensation.
If you do have a white wine in the refrigerator, pull it out and let it sit for 30 minutes. And, if you have a bottle of red that's at room temperature, put it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Or better yet, invest in a wine refrigerator that will ensure your wines are stored and served at just the right temperature. Cheers!
Behind the Cork™ Wine of the Week - Stags' Leap Merlot ($20)
Looking for an attainable, affordable wine? You've come to the right place. Each week I feature just such a wine that may be great for taking to a party, enjoying with a dinner or just sipping on Wine Wednesday.
This week's wine is Stags' Leap Merlot. This medium-bodied wine from Napa Valley is an excellent wine at $20. Nice big flavor of berry fruit with soft tannin and a smooth finish. You can't go wrong with a wine from Stags' Leap.