Tip of the Month: To Chill or not to Chill? Suggested Wine Serving Temperatures


. . .That is the Question.

With this wonderful summer weather we’ve had, I’ve been asked about wine serving temperature quite often by my readers. The quick and easy response is; “whatever temperature you like “. I don’t mean to be lazy (which is sometimes my nature), but keeping it simple (which is definitely my nature) is sometimes easier for me. My wife loves our Australian Chardonnay ice cold and sometimes with a cube of “frozen water” in the glass, whereas I prefer the exact same wine very slightly chilled. Who’s right…. who’s wrong? Me of course, so I am told. Actually, the answer is neither of us are wrong or right. Life is way too short, so imbibe your favourite beverage in a manner which pleases you… and only you!

Having said that, there are reasons why serving temperatures are recommended for your wines.

Not unlike matching foods and wines, certain foods will bring out the best in wines while certain wines will enhance a meal. When serving your wine at particular temperatures, some wines will benefit from certain degrees, whereas a “wrong temperature” (I say this with tongue firmly planted in cheek), can be detrimental to the wine and not allow you to enjoy the full benefit of what this wonderful beverage has to offer.

General rule for wine serving temperatures:

If served too cold the flavours are masked and can make the wine taste harsh. If the wine is too warm it can taste dull, flabby and ‘burn’ because the alcohol is dominant on the palate. Remember, room temperature for wine is not 72°F; room temperature is based on the temperature of a castle in Scotland 200 years ago (60°F-65°F).

Listed below is a very basic and general reference chart for which wines should be served at which temperature and why. Please keep in mind that the climate of the season can play a role in this. For example, I tend to enjoy my white wines at a lower Fahrenheit in the hot summer months than I normally would on a crisp fall evening. Also, I do not consume alot of “Big” reds in the warm weather.

Here we go…