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Orange Coast Winery

Douglas Wiens
March 21, 2018 | Douglas Wiens

Serve Chilled; But How Cold is That, Exactly?

Serve Chilled; But How Cold is That, Exactly?

Let’s talk actual temperatures

Wine doesn’t have to be complicated. There’s nothing wrong with picking up a bottle at a store (or local winery), going home, opening that sucker up, and pouring yourself a glass. In fact, that sounds pretty right to us. But there are various things you can do to get the most out of your wine. Choosing the right type of glass, for example, can make a big difference. Another important aspect to think about is temperature.

Why does temperature matter for wine?

Wine is fascinating. Unlike most beverages, one bottle of wine can have numerous flavors, some that are obvious and others that are aren’t. When wine is served at the right temperature, this allows you to experience all of those subtleties. If it’s too warm or too cold, you won’t get the best flavor.

Should all wines be chilled?

Not necessarily. Whites and sparkling wine are better when chilled. Reds, on the other hand, shouldn’t be too cold. It’s often said that they should be served at room temperature, but there’s a bit of a misconception when it comes to what that means. We’ll get to that.

Your wine temperature guide

Sparkling wine and champagne

If you are having a party or some kind of celebration and you’ll have some bubbly on hand, you’ll want to make sure it is cold – between 40 and 50 degrees. In addition to giving you the best flavor, this will keep the bubbles fine and not foamy. Sticking it in the fridge for about an hour before you open it should do the trick. And once opened, keep those bottles on ice.

White wine and rosé

Any white or rosé should also be cold, but not quite as cold. Between 50 and 60 degrees is best. A half hour to about 45 minutes in the fridge should get that bottle down to the perfect temperature. But unlike champagne, don’t keep the bottle on the ice after it is opened. As it warms up, you will begin to notice – and appreciate – slight changes to its aroma and flavors.

Red wine

Okay, here’s where the whole “room temperature” things comes into play. Red wine is best when it is served between 60 and 70 degrees. If you usually keep your home in that temperature range, room temperature is fine. But if it’s a chilly night and you’ve got the heat cranked up or a fire going, odds are good that you’re way over that 70 mark. The same is true during summer months. Just sticking your bottle of red wine in the fridge for 10 to 15 minutes can get it to that optimal temperature. And when it’s open – just like with a white wine – let it sit where it is.

What about storage?

Clearly, cooler is better when it comes to wine. The best temperatures for storage are between 45 and 65 degrees, with 55 being ideal. And while your fridge is okay for a few months, any longer and your wine will probably suffer. This is because the temperature will probably fall below 45. The lack of moisture may also dry out the corks, allowing air to seep in. For long-term storage, your best bet may actually be your basement.

Want to stop reading about wine and start drinking it? Come on down to Orange Coast Winery. No matter which type of wine you’re in the mood for, we’re ready to pour you a glass that’s the perfect temperature.


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