Tips on Red Wine Serving Temperature

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 on metal wine racking.

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.