The wine serving temperature can greatly influence the aromatics, taste and enjoyment of a wine. Serving a wine cool can help mask the flaws seen in young or cheap wines, whereas serving wine warmer can allow the bouquet and complexity inside a wine to be expressed, which is ideal for aged or rich, full-bodied wines. Lower temperatures also repress the 'bite' that alcohol can give in lighter bodied wines.
Have you ever tasted a full-bodied / oaked Chardonnay at room temperature? If so, it probably tasted mostly of dry oak and the fruit was missing. If you've had it too cold, you've probably tasted nothing but acidity, and again no fruit. (here are some guide-lines)
Wine Serving Temperatures:
°C - Wine Style:
19° - Brandy, Cognac
18° - Full-bodied red wines - Cabernet Sauvignon, Brunello di Montalcino, Vintage Port
17° - Syrah, Chianti Classico & Rioja (Reserva), Tawny Port
15-16° - Medium bodied red wines - Rioja, G.S.M, Merlot, Malbec, Pinot Noir
14° - Amontillado Sherry & Oloroso Sherry
13° - Light bodied reds - 'Beaujolais', Ruby Port
12° - Full bodied whites - 'Barrel fermented Chardonnay'
11° - Medium bodied white wines - 'Oak aged Chardonnay'
10° - Rosé, light bodied white wines, Botrytis dessert wines
9° - Vintage Champagne
8° - Fino Sherry, White Port, Crisp dry white wines
7° - NV Champagne/ Méthodes/ Late Harvest dessert wines
6° - Sparkling wine, Cava, Prosecco, Asti, Sekt
In both cases, extreme temperature caused components to overpower or mask the natural fruit, and the wine was experienced out of balance. To experience a wine's varietal aroma, flavour and character, it needs to be served at the correct temperature.
Most white wines will chill down to a good drinking temperature after one and a half hours in a normal home refridgerator. If you need to cool it faster, an ice bucket filled with ice and water will do the trick in about 30 minutes (NB: to aid in the speed of chilling, place the bottle upside down, neck first into the ice-bucket).
Most red wines, if cellared at 13°-14°C, will need to be brought back up to serving temperature. Ideally, you want your rich, full-bodied red wines served at 18°C. Remember the average room temperature is about 21°- 23°C even warmer in the summer months. Standing a bottle of red wine at room temperature for two to three hours, well away from hot ovens, heaters and direct sunlight will warm them sufficiently.
If time is of the essence, you can immerse the bottle in a basin of tepid / warm water for several minutes. (NB: I am definitely not a fan of the microwave option, especially now that wines have a metal screw-cap closure).
Also when decanting wine - be aware of the ambient temperature during the breathing time.