Getting hot under the collar about wine temps

Attending a number of festivals recently the discussion of proper serving temperature has come up. Served too cold or too warm wine loses much of the aromatics and flavor profile. As a general rule Americans tend to serve their whites too cold and their reds too warm.

The late Jean LeDucq, founder of Prince Michel (and a former boss) once educated me, as only Mr. LeDucq could do that if you must, choose to serve a wine cooler than you think it should be served. He said a wine can always be warmed in the hands if it is served too cold. Serving too hot would necessitate adding ice and ruining the winemaker’s work.

While wine storage temperature is 55º F, serving temperature varies by type.

45 degrees –  Most white wines If they are served colder, the aromas and  flavors will be minimized and you won’t get full enjoyment.

50 degrees –    Fuller bodied, high quality white wines including Sauternes and rich white Burgundies. Light red wines like Beaujolais.

60 degrees — Red wines including Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Bordeaux, Zinfandel, Rhones and Syrah/Shiraz

[Chart adapted from

Experiment with your serving temperatures, I like my medium bodied red blend [pizza and spaghetti red] slightly chilled so I put them in the fridge as I am making the pasta. Let me know how you like to serve your wines.

About virginiawineclub

Chairman Virginia Wine Club Tasting Panel Editor, Virginia Wine Journal
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