Know Your Limits – Our Guide to Wine Temperature

Posted on March 2nd, 2015

Wine thermometer, £27 from The Scandinavian Shop

Temperature can often be a bit of an afterthought when it comes to wine, but in order to get the most from your collection, you need to play to its strengths in order to release its true characteristics

The right temperature will enhance flavours and can help to make a good wine really great. Make sure you’re always serving up a treat with our handy guide:

Serving Wine

So white wine is best served cold and red wine is best served warm, right? Well, yes, but it’s a little bit more complicated than that; wine served too cool will mask any flavour, while wine served too warm will taste too strongly of alcohol.

So what is the right temperature? Well this all depends on the type of wine you are serving. Fortified wines, such as port, will be fine at room temperature, while sparking wines are best at 4-8°C, rosé wines at 6-8°C, white wines at 5-12°C and red wines at 9-18°C. Take a look at our chart below for a more in depth look:

Sparkling wine 
Non-vintage, sweet4-7°C
Sweet white wine 
Eiswein, Sweet Vouray5-7°C
Auslese, Spätlese10-12°C
Sauternes, Beerenauslese11-13°C
Classic Rosé, Tavel6-8°C
White Zinfandel6-8°C
Medium-sweet white wine 
German table wine6-8°C
New world Riesling and Gewürztraminer10-12°C
Crisp, dry white wine 
Loire Valley whites6-8°C
Sauvignon Blanc6-8°C
Alsace Riesling6-8°C
Italian whites6-8°C
Classic white wine 
French Chablis, Chardonnay, White Burgundy9-11°C
Graves, Viognier, Condrieu9-11°C
Complex white wine 
Full-bodied Chardonnay10-12°C
Light red wine 
Beaujolais Nouveau9-11°C
Côtes du Rhône11-14°C
Classic red wine 
Barbera, Chianti, Sangiovese13-15°C
Young Bordeaux, Young Cabernet14-16°C
Lighter Zinfandel14-16°C
Complex red wine 
Red Burgundy, Pinot Noir15-17°C
Barolo, Chianti Riserva15-17°C
Merlot (oak-aged)15-17°C
Full-bodied, mature red wine 
Grand Cru Bordeaux, Mature California Cabernet16-18°C
Mature Rhône16-18°C
Tawny Port15-17°C
Vintage Port16-18°C

Storing Wine

Although a lot of emphasis is placed on serving wine at the right temperature, it’s also important to store it in the correct way. Your expensive bottles are unlikely to pass the test of time if they’re pushed to their extremes. Although wine can keep for decades in the right conditions, ultimately it is a perishable good. If wine reaches over 35°C, or falls below freezing, there will be an impact on its flavour and it may even become undrinkable. In order to store wine correctly for long periods of time, keep it at a stable temperature, ideally between around 8-15°C, and try to keep it away from light. This also goes for wines that are usually served cold, such as champagne; don’t be tempted to keep a bottle of bubbly in the fridge for a few months waiting for a special occasion, as you risk ruining its flavour.

If you’re concerned about the temperature of your wine storage, take a look at our wine cellar air conditioning units. They help create cellar conditions by ensuring wine is kept below 15°C. Don’t forget to also check out our full range of wine racks and cabinets for the perfect way to store your collection. If you’d like any help with your wine storage requirements, please get in touch and we’ll be happy to assist in any way that we can.