Serving wines at the correct temperature is probably the most important single factor you can control when it comes to making the wines you buy taste their absolute best. Sure – picking the right glassware and choosing the right foods to pair with a given wine are also important considerations, but in my experience there is no mistake more common, or impactful, when it comes to serving wine than serving it at an ideal temperature.
Contrary to popular belief, the difference between the best temperatures for red wines and white wines is actually quite small – and in my experience, most white wines are served far too cold, and most red wines are served far to warm. When wines are served too cold, they tend to lose much of their flavour and come across as tart and muted, whereas wines served at too warm a temperature lose balance, and tend to come across hot from the alcohol.
As a quick rule of thumb, remember that rich and full-bodied reds (like Syrah/Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon or Amarone) tend to be served at the warmest temperatures whereas light, refreshing and unoaked whites (like Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio) tend to be served at the coolest temperatures. At the centre of this spectrum, you’ll find lighter to mid-weight reds (like Pinot Noir or Chianti) and richer and often barrel-aged whites (like Chardonnay, white Rioja or Viognier) and even dry Roses, which all tend to be best served at relatively similar temperatures.
So here’s our handy guide to helping you figure out the ideal wine serving temperatures the next time you go to pull a cork.