Wine is something to be savoured and enjoyed, and the best way to do that is to ensure it’s served correctly – at the right temperature, and ideally in the best kind of glass. In this article we discover the best way and temperature to serve your wine.
Have you ever noticed how much the taste of your tea or coffee changes at different temperatures? Well, this applies to wine temperature too. We know there can be a lot to think about when you’re serving wine – but once you know the basics it will become second-nature to you. Different types of wines can be served in different ways and at certain temperatures.
The best red wine temperature for drinking tends to be higher than for white wines and for good reason – the correct temperature to serve red wine depends on the tannin levels in the wine, which for red is higher than white. The more tannins in the wine, the warmer it can be served (though never above about 18 degrees Celsius). Warmer temperatures help smooth these out which is why red wine is not usually served chilled. However, light reds with lower tannins such as Pinot noir can benefit from being served lightly chilled to around 14 degrees.
Perhaps you’re wondering, how do you warm up wine? You can of course cradle the glass in your hands to warm it up – alternatively, some people place it on a worktop near a cooker for a short time. But it’s best to plan ahead and bring the wine out of storage and into an environment where it’ll warm to room temperature gradually. From a cool room or cellar, it can take around 45 minutes for red wine to reach a more ideal serving temperature.
The choice of glass will also make a difference to the overall experience – and will also affect the temperature considerations. Think of a large-bowled glass (ideal for red wines), and how much you can warm the wine by grasping it in your palm. That works for red wines, but should be avoided for whites, which need smaller glasses but ones which can funnel the more delicate aromas to your nose and mouth more quickly. Use flutes for sparkling wines if you can.
Finally, whether to decant or not is another consideration – experts often claim that almost all red wines (and especially wines such as port) will improve in flavour if they are decanted. It aerates the wine, and adding oxygen means letting the wine breathe and express itself more. It also helps to separate any sediment that may be left in the wine.
What temperature should you serve your wine?
Too cool a temperature can subdue the subtle fruity, floral or earthy notes of a wine, and too warm may cause these aromas to dissipate too quickly. Here we look at how the optimal temperature changes for each type of wine.
Traditionally red wine is to be served just under room temperature (around 16 °C) as these warmer temperatures allow the tannins to smooth out in flavour. Some wines, such as our Pinot Noir, may even benefit from being slightly chilled to 14°C.
White wines are best served at 8-10°C, fridge temperature is too cool, so take the wine out a few minutes to warm before drinking! There can be a slight variation dependant on the style of wine. Typically, a full-bodied white would be served lightly chilled at around 10-13°C, whereas a more light-bodied white, such as our Lychgate Bacchus,would benefit from a serving temperature closer to 8°C.
Sparkling wines thrive when they are well-chilled, around 8-10°C. Our Cuvée Noir is a perfect example of how the wonderful creamy richness and full-bodied mousse of a sparkling red is really highlighted when served at the appropriate temperature.
How to choose the perfect wine glass.
There is a huge variety of wine glasses to choose from, which may sometimes seem rather daunting when trying to pair a glass with your favourite bottle. Luckily glassware can be easily paired depending on the style of wine.
White wine is typically served in a smaller bowled glass. This preserves the fruity and floral notes and helps elevate the aromas even at lower temperature. This is due to the wine being closer to the nose. The Absolus White Wine Glasses take all of this into consideration with their hybrid glassware which is perfect for all white and sparkling wine.
Red wine is best served in a glass with a wider opening to soften the tannins and spicy aromas from a bolder red. The larger opening also allows the ethanol to evaporate, leaving a smoother drinking experience. For a medium-bodied red such as our Lychgate Red these Absolus Red Wine Glasses are perfect to capture the earthy aromas of hedgerow fruits, and black cherry. Spice flavours are softened to hit the palate more gradually due to the slightly narrower opening of the glass.