There isn’t just one perfect red wine serving temperature. Each kind of red wine, from your driest Cabernet Sauvignon to your sweetest fortified wine has different requirements.
Here are a few tips:
Don’t drink red wine at room temperature
Room temperature (about 70ºF) is way too warm for red wine. No wine tastes good at that temperature, not even full-bodied wines. At that temperature, you only tasted the alcohol, which burns.
Instead, put the bottle in the refrigerator for about a half-hour to cool it down a little bit. If you decide to leave it in for longer, even for a few hours, that’s perfectly fine.
When you take the bottle out, the red wine will slowly warm up to good drinking temperature. With a little practice, you will know what a good temperature is for a particular red wine.
Learn how to store wine in the optimal conditions, so you enjoy your wine at its best.
If you don’t have that much time, you have two other options available to you. You can put it in the freezer for 10-15 minutes. But if you decide to do that, I recommend you use a timer so you don’t forget about the bottle. Your other option is to dunk the bottle in a bucket of ice water for about 10 minutes.
A good rule of thumb for serving temperature
Full-bodied wines like Cabernet Sauvignon, Brunello di Montalcino and Syrah can be enjoyed between 62º-68ºF (17º-20ºC). Merlot, Pinot Noir, fruity Syrah are better at a cooler temperature, between 59º-62ºF (15º-17ºC).
Fruitier wines like Beaujolais and some fortified wines like Port are ready to be enjoyed when cooled to around 54º-61ºF (12º-17ºC).
If you are very discerning, you may want to purchase a small thermometer to place in your wine bottle to check the red wine serving temperature. There are other models that can be wrapped around the side of the bottle and provide a reading as well. Usually, I just gauge how long the wine should be cooled according to its style. If its too cold, I let it warm in room temperature for a while. If too warm, it goes back into the refrigerator.
Bottom line: Wine should be cool enough to be refreshing, while not losing its flavor.
Certain health benefits of red wine have been attributed to this delicious nectar ever since wine was invented in ancient times. The ancient Greeks drank wine as it was safer than drinking water. It also was used as an antiseptic and mixed with medicines.
It was used as medicine for certain ailments. This is actually how the Penfold’s winery in Australia was started. Their wines were given to patients with anemia.
Modern Findings Of Red Wine And Health
Red Wine and Heart Health
One major health benefit of red wine is that it reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke. It acts as an anticoagulant, which allows blood to flow easier. Therefore, it helps to reduce clogged arteries and blood clots.
Red Wine and Cholesterol
Another health benefit of red wine is that it raises “good” cholesterol (HDL) and lowers “bad” (LDL). It actually helps to remove the fat deposits in arteries.
Red Wine Antioxidants
There are some powerful antioxidants in red wine. They are what help to reduce the fat in our arteries.
Resveratrol is one of the antioxidants found in red wine. It has anti-inflammatory effects, (you lose weight), it reduces the risk of cancer and it helps your heart. More research findings continue to come out on this antioxidant in red wine.
Like Resveratrol, Quercetin is found in red grapes. This red wine antioxidant also has anti-inflammatory properties and it may reduce risk for cancer.
The French Paradox is the health expert’s nightmare. They eat a high-fat diet, they don’t exercise and yet have a low heart disease rate.
Why is this? Well, it probably has to do with the red wine they consume. In moderate amounts, red wine can reduce heart disease risk.
Calories in Red Wine
How many calories in red wine? According to the United States dietary guidelines, there are about 100 calories in a 5-ounce glass of red wine.
If you are counting calories, you should know also that red wine is fat-free and has no cholesterol. Yippee!
Red Wine and Headaches
Red wine headaches are certainly not a health benefit of red wine, however, they do affect many people. A lot of research has gone into this topic, and there are some answers so sufferers can also enjoy the health benefits of red wine.
How much red wine?
So — how much red wine should you consume in order to experience all the health benefits of red wine? Dr. Sears, in his best selling book, Enter The Zone, says to have one glass of red wine per day. Higher amounts, he says, could result in a reversal of all the health benefits you want to achieve.
You should talk to your doctor for the best advice for you.
Cabernet Sauvignon is considered to be the most important variety because it is so easy to grow. Most dry red wines are made with this grape.
As long as it is in a warm climate, wine can be made from this variety. It is originally from Bordeaux in France, but grows nicely in Italy, Spain, California, Australia, Chile, South Africa and more.
One California winery that is famous for its Cabernet Sauvignon is the Silver Oak Winery. This is a wine that can age for about 15 years.
Taste. Cabernet Sauvignon grapes make medium to full-bodied types of red wines. They are high in tannin, which is a natural preservative that comes from the skin, stems and seeds of the grape and the oak wood in which the wine is aged. A good description of what tannins taste like is “astringent.” It is the same taste that you have when drinking a cup of tea.
Studies have been done to find out whether tannins cause red wine headaches. Find out more about red wine and headaches here.
Because of the tannin in Cabernet Sauvignon, vintners tend to mix this grape with at least one other to reduce the “astringency.” Usually a Cabernet Sauvignon blend is made with merlot, as it is not as tannic and brings a nice fruity flavor to the wine.
Another great characteristic about Cabernet is that it is naturally low in sulfites.
Merlot is a much fruitier wine than Cabernet Sauvignon. It has a nice flavor, reminiscent of black currant. Merlot has a beautiful dark color, is full-bodied and is high in alcohol content. Merlot is also the most planted grape in Bordeaux and is very popular in California, Italy, Chile and other regions where Cabernet is grown.
If you like Dry Red Wines,
You Can’t Pass These Up!
Nebbiolo grapes grow in the Piedmont region of northern Italy. Barolo and Barbaresco wines are made from this grape. Barolo wine is more complex and fuller-bodied than Barbaresco that requires aging.
Barbaresco wine is a more refined, elegant Nebbiolo wine.
Sangiovese is grown in Tuscany, particularly in Chianti. Of all the types of red wine that come from Italy, Sangiovese makes Italy’s most famous red wine.
Chianti wine has some tannin, but gets nicely rounded out by fruit flavors.
Sangiovese also makes dry, tannic wines like Brunello di Monalcino and Vino Nobile de Montepulciano. They are considered to be some of the top wines from Italy and should be aged before enjoying. Look up some principles on storing red wine.
Zinfandel is a very popular variety in California. It is one of the oldest varieties grown in that region, which is probably why you can find so many different styles of this red wine type.
Tastes of Zinfandel can range from being intense with high tannins, to a lighter, fruitier type of red wine. It can have the flavor of blackberries and smell like raspberries, cherries, chocolate, coffee or oak.
Even Sweeter, Fruitier Wines:
Pinot Noir has a lighter color than Cabernet or Merlot. It has less tannins and tastes like summer fruit. It has nice aromas, too. When exploring Pinot Noir, make sure to try Acacia Winery’s Pinot Noir. This winery has perfected the art of Pinot Noir through their vineyard specific wines.
California and Oregon are the best areas for Pinot Noir. Vintners in Napa, Sonoma, and the Willamette Valley of Oregon make excellent Pinot Noir wines.
Not sure which Pinot Noir to try first? Take a look at these Pinot Noir wine clubs. Let the experts send the perfect bottle to your door.
Syrah has been a very popular grape variety. It makes a very dark, full-bodied wine with a robust flavor. Australia’s Syrah (called Shiraz) has a wide range of flavors ranging from light and fruity to robust and spicy.
One question I’ve been asked a lot is: At what temperature do you serve sweet red wine? Find out what the proper serving temperature is for all red wines here.
As you can see from this shortlist, many types of red wines can be made from just a few kinds of grapes.
One way that wine professionals organize all these different types of red wines is by a red wine rating system. It is important to understand something about these ratings, but they should not stop you from trying every kind of wine that is within your price range.
That brings us to the best part: Your enjoyment!
Now that you know what to expect from different kinds of grapes, go ahead on your journey of exploration and treat yourself to new flavors in red wines.
There is an adventure and the thrill of discovery waiting for you in every glass.