Lukewarm tea, cold pizza… serving temperature can divide opinion. Whilst it’s entirely subjective, it’s not particularly scientific. Which means anything goes. But when it comes to white wine, things are a little more considered.
It might surprise you to know that white wine can be served anywhere between 6ºC and 13ºC, and this depends on the style of the wine. Typically, the temperature affects the initial impact of the flavour, followed by the body and then the blend of characteristics within the glass.
Well-chilled wines will produce individual flavours that are sharp and prominent. As you move to warmer, full-bodied wines, the bold and fruity characteristics become more pronounced.
This is why we generally associate ‘crisp, white wine’ with the idea of a chilled bottle or glass. We don’t necessarily associate ‘complex wine’ with a warmer temperature, but this is how they should be served, as it really does help to release the full-bodied aromas.
Here’s a basic guide to follow when it comes to serving temperature:
Sparkling wine:best served well-chilled, between 6 and 10ºC
Prosecco, Champagne, English sparkling
Light-bodied wine:best served chilled, between 7 and 10ºC
Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc
Full-bodied wine:best served warmer, between 10 and 13ºC
Viognier, Pouilly Fuissé
How to chill your wine
So, is it just a case of popping the wine in the fridge? Well, yes, but not for too long – most people overchill their wines. It’s worth remembering that a typical fridge is set to 4 or 5ºC, which is ever so slightly too cold for sparkling, and certainly too cold for full-bodied wines. We recommend popping a bottle in for just an hour (or less) to avoid the wine becoming too sharp.
If you’re in a hurry (you know, unexpected guests, or you’ve had ‘one of those days’), it doesn’t hurt to pop a bottle in the freezer for 20 minutes or so. Again, think about temperature and what you’re drinking. And most importantly, don’t forget the bottle is there.
Temperature is incredibly important when it comes to wine. Thankfully, we all have a fridge and freezer in our homes, so it’s certainly possible to get this right, even if it takes a little practice. Remember, if you over-chill a wine, you can always leave it for a while to warm up.
From vineyard to glass, wine is a delicate art, so next time you’re thinking about opening a bottle, take a little extra time to consider serving temperature. The fruits, the spice, the florals and the flavours really do deserve it. And you do too.