Wine can stimulate all the senses. But it doesn’t take much to spoil it. When it comes to getting the most out of the aromas, flavours and textures, serving temperature is everything. We spoke with Wine Society Educator Jacquie Lewis to demystify the hot topic of serving temperatures.
What’s the most common misconception when it comes to serving temperatures for wine?
I think the most common misconception is that all white wine should be served ice cold. Styles with more body and flavour should be served a little warmer so that we can appreciate what they have to offer.
How can serving temperature impact the overall wine tasting experience?
When we chill wine, we shut down all the flavour. What we don’t do is affect acid or tannin levels, therefore high acid wines seem crisper and more refreshing when they are cold. A quality Chardonnay or a full-bodied red wine has a lot to offer, but if we serve the wine too cold we miss out on everything the wine is trying to give us. If we serve a wine too warm, we make alcohol seem more prominent. The wine will seem warm and any freshness will disappear.
What exactly is ‘room temperature’ in the context of ideal serving temperatures?
This is always a hard one, especially in a country such as Australia! Room temperature, in this context, is not literally room temperature. In the wine world, this is 16-18°C, so the bottle will still feel slightly cool.
Finally, what’s the ideal temperature to serve the following styles of wine?
• Sparkling wines: 6-8°C
• Light-bodied whites: 6-8°C
• Aromatic whites (e.g. Riesling): 8-10°C
• Full-bodied whites: 12°C
• Light-bodied reds: 10-12°C
• Full-bodied reds (e.g. Sangiovese): 16-18°C
• Sweet wines: 6-8°C
• Fortified wines: 16-18°C
We tested the theory of wine serving temperatures with two drops from Gatt Wines: an aromatic Riesling and a full-bodied Sangiovese. We tasted them at three different temperatures: their ideal temperature, a few degrees below their ideal temperature and a few degrees above their ideal temperature. The verdict? Temperature is everything.
- Jacquie Lewis
Wine Society Educator