What Temperature Should I Serve My Wines?
Posted on 01 August 2022
Worried you’re serving your wines too cold?
Still putting your reds on a radiator to warm up? The last thing you want to do when you spend a bit of money on a lovely bottle of wine is to mess up the serving by getting the temperature of the wine all wrong and missing out on the full experience of each glass.
Luckily our wine expert, Mike Turner, is here with five handy tips…
Theory Behind Serving Temperature
Serving temperatures in theory are fairly easy.
Usually, you can find a serving temperature suggestion on the back of the label or on the internet somewhere (every wine from Libiamo has one on the product page!). Where it gets slightly tricky is that you have to remember that a suggested serving temperature is just that; a suggestion.
It’s designed to give you the best “number” that will enhance the body, flavour, and freshness of a wine in equal measures when it the aromas hit your nose and the wine hits your mouth.Issue being is that we all have different noses and different mouths.
he following points are to get you thinking about what and why we say certain temperatures should work and then you can just make them work for you in your own way to suit your palate. Sound fair?
1) Don’t Have Whites Too Cold
We’re all buggers for this. You put your bottle of white in the fridge three days before you’re going to drink it, then serve it at a fridge-ready 4 o C.
We can’t smell much, we can’t taste much, but…it’s wet, it’s cold, and it’s alcoholic, and it’s been a long week!
It’s very rare that a white wine will need more than about 2 hours in most modern fridges.
Lighter bodied and aromatic wines can be chilled a bit more, whereas heavier whites require a little less chilling so that the flavour profile can really come to the fore.
2) Most Reds Need a Bit of Chilling
This will completely depend on where you keep your wines.
Many moons ago, when people kept their wines in cellars at low temperatures, it was important to warm the reds up a bit to being them up to room temperature to then serve.
Bear in mind that was when room temperature was about 16-18oC.
Now have a think about where you store your wines and how warm your house is. You starting to see the point?
Also worth noting that, as with the whites, lower bodied red wines like Pinot Noir or Lagrein can be enjoyed a touch cooler. That’s especially true if you’re enjoying a glass or two over lunch.
3) The Difference Between Tasting and Drinking
As mentioned, the cooler the wine, the more tightly held in are the aromas and flavours.
For some wines that might be the best way to enjoy them as you pour out the glasses over dinner.
If you’re trying to assess the wine, either as part of a larger tasting, or before the meal, you tend to have it less chilled so that you can get a full range of what it’s got to offer.
It’s not always the greatest to drink at that stage, as coolness can bring the body and acidity into balance, but it’ll help you get a real handle on what this wine is all about.
4) Why You Hold a Glass by the Stem
In our recent post about different shapes and sizes of wine glasses, you’ll remember me mentioning one function of a wine glass stem is to stop you from holding the glass by the bowl and warming up the wine with your hands. If you think the wine is perfect and cool and crisp and lovely when it’s served, then hold the glass by the stem. If you think it’s far too cold then grab hold of the glass by the bowl and warm it up. If it’s too warm however…
5) Don’t Be Afraid of Ice Cubes
I’ve seen people lambasted by friends and family for asking for ice cubes in their wines.
Why? If the wine is too warm then it’s a great way of chilling it down quickly.
Ok, if you nurse your glass too long then the ice will melt and you’ll dilute the wine, but if you’re drinking in the summer sun, it’s not always the worst idea to dilute your wine a bit.
Have it however you want and don’t let the ice-cube-haters win!!
Some Great Reds to Enjoy Chilled
1 - Lagrein Gries Riserva by Cantina Terlano (Italian Red Wine)
2 - Freisa “Braghe” by Claudio Mariotto (Case of 3 – Italian Red Wine)
3 - Valpolicella Classico DOC by Le Salette (Case of 3 - Italian Red Wine )