Tip : temperature is a decisive factor

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Chandra's Cooking with Wine

Today, even the uninitiated know that sparkling, white and rosé wines should be served chilled and red wines at room temperature. But beyond this simple, even simplistic rule, it's helpful to make a few distinctions based on the category of vintage. Is your bubbly a mere sparkling wine, Champagne or even vintage Champagne? Is your white wine a down-to-earth young wine or a more complex vintage matured in a barrel? And not all red wines should be served at the same temperature. Generally, the more simple, light and fruity a wine is, the cooler it should be served. So why is this?

The temperature actually makes some characteristics of the wine stand out more than others. When a wine is served chilled, tasters will notice the acidity, bitterness and tannins more. A few degrees warmer and they will notice more the taste of alcohol, the sweetness and the aromatic palette. This explains why, for example, sweet wines which are drunk too warm can soon taste sickly. The wine can seem heavy, bland and sticky. On the other hand, a strong red wine taken directly from the fridge can seem rough and immature, as the cold will highlight the greenness of the tannins. If you're not sure what kind of wine you're dealing with, it's best to serve it too cold rather than too warm, as it will warm up slowly in the glass in any case.

Optimal serving temperatures:
  • Medium dry Champagnes and sparkling wines: 6 to 8 °C.
  • Light and rosé wines: 8 to 10 °C.

  • Delicate sweet wines (such as Port): 8 to 10 °C.
  • Liqueur wines: 10 to 12 °C.

  • Complex white wines: 10 to 12 °C.

  • High-status mature Champagne:
8 to 10 °C, 12 °C maximum.

  • Light red wines: approx. 15 °C.

  • Strong red wines: 17 to 18 °C.