Ask A Wino – Serving Temperature


james wallC4 Deli Resident Bartender, Wine Purchaser and Texas native James Wall is the person you want on your best buddy list. Look out for his ‘red and white’ insight every Wednesday on our Wino Wednesday: Ask A Wino Q&A.

Q: At what temperatures should you serve red and white wines?

A: We’ve all heard that white wines should be served chilled and red wines at room temperate and, in general, that’s a pretty true statement. However, abiding by this simple rule will probably keep you from ever enjoying your wine at it’s best.

Nothing spoils a good bottle of wine more than serving it at the wrong temperature. Serving temperature can significantly affect a wine’s aromas and flavors. Wine served at the correct temperature will best reveal its distinct aromas and characteristics.

The Goldilocks analogy is a great way to remember the rule on serving wine; not too hot, but not too cold, just right! If the wine is too warm it will lose its flavor and freshness to an overwhelming taste of alcohol. Too cold and it can mask the aroma and flavor.

In general, here are few key facts to remember:

  • Light dry wines, roses, and sparkling wines: Serve at 40° to 50° F
  • Full-bodied white wines and light, fruity reds: Serve at 50° to 60°F
  • Full-bodied red wines and Ports:Serve at 60° to 65° F

Unless you have your own personal wine cellar (in that case, why haven’t you invited me over), a good rule to remember is chill your reds and warm your whites before serving. Remove whites from the fridge about half an hour before serving. Reds, on the other hand, allow half an hour to cool in the fridge before serving. Don’t stress if you think the red is too cool, it should warm up a bit in the glass from the palm of your hand. If you don’t remember anything from this post, in all cases, serving wine above 70°F should always be avoided. If that fails, it’s always best to let your own personal preferences be your guide. Cheers!