Nos conseils aux professionnels - Température de service des vins - Les Grappes

Serving temperature of the wines

Restaurateurs, Cavists and Gourmands, here is an article that will be precious to you! The Grappes indicate at which temperature to serve your wines. Here is what you need to perfect your service, and to enjoy all the qualities of the wine. Indeed the temperature of service is an important factor since the ideal temperature of a wine is the one that allows to reveal all its flavours and thus to honour it!

Tasting conditions

Before discussing the ideal serving temperatures, we offer some information on the temperature of the wines.
One of the main flaws in serving is the temperature of the wine: wines to be drunk chilled are often served too cold, while wines to be drunk at room temperature are unfortunately served too hot.
Temperature is a decisive factor in tasting since low temperatures prevent the expression of the wine's aromas, while high temperatures raise the alcohol, which then begins to take precedence over the aromas.

There is no average ideal temperature, it varies according to the wines and depends on several data such as the structure, complexity and balance of the wine. This is why, for example, the particularities of the wine must be taken into account to define its ideal serving temperature: thus the more a wine is structured on tannins, the higher its serving temperature will be. Then, a good wine or an aged wine will easily withstand 2 to 4°C more than a simple wine. The ambient temperature also plays an important role in defining the serving temperature, since wines are tasted slightly cooler in summer than in winter.
Here are now some temperature indications according to the type of wine.

The serving temperature of red wines :

For the service of red wines, it is necessary to count a few degrees above room temperature. However, it should not be forgotten that wine deteriorates in contact with heat, and that each wine deserves a temperature that is adjusted to it.

For light and fruity young red wines such as the red Sancerre: the serving temperature is between 11 and 14°C. By young we mean wines less than 2 years old.
For Beaujolais red wines and tannic wines and natural sweet wines such as Banyuls: the serving temperature is between 13 and 14°C.
For fleshy and fruity wines such as Chinon or Côtes-de-Provence: the temperature is between 15 and 17°C.
For complex and powerful wines such as Saint-Emilion or Châteauneuf-du-Pape: the serving temperature is between 15 and 17°C.
For complex and tannic red wines such as Saint-Estèphe: the serving temperature is between 15 and 17°C.
For complex and elegant red wines such as Corton: the serving temperature is between 16 and 17°C.
Exceptional wines should be served between 19 and 20°C.

The serving temperature for white wines :

White wines are served cooler than red wines. Indeed, since heat accentuates the acidity of the wine, serving white wines cooler makes them less aggressive. If you want to accentuate the refreshing side of a white wine, you can make sure that the bottle is cool too. We then suggest you consult the recommended serving temperatures for the different categories of white wine:

For dry, light and nervous white wines such as Muscadet, Petit Chablis, Mâcon-Villages,...: the serving temperature is around 8°C.
For dry, supple and fruity white wines such as Chablis, Graves, Roussette de Savoie, or Sancerre: the serving temperature is between 8°C and 10°C.
For dry, ample and racy white wines such as Corton-Charlemagne, Montlouis, Pessac-Léognan: the serving temperature is between 10°C and 12°C.
For dry and very aromatic white wines such as Gewürztraminer or Muscat: young wines will have a serving temperature between 8°C and 10°C, and the oldest between 10°C and 12°C.
Semi-dry, sweet, syrupy white wines such as Monbazillac: the serving temperature is between 8°C and 10°C.

The serving temperature of rosé wines

It is for rosé wines that temperature management is easier. Whether they are vinous or full-bodied like Bandol or Lirac, or lively and fruity like Côtes-de-Provence, the serving temperature will be between 8°C and 10°C. They must therefore be fresh.

One can admit that structured rosé wines can be served at a higher temperature: Clarets de Bordeaux for example will have a serving temperature between 13 and 14°C.

The serving temperature of sparkling wines

Serving sparkling wines implies that you want to emphasize the freshness and therefore the acidity of the wine. Since acidity and bubbles work together, your sparkling wine should be served fairly cold. Be careful not to serve it too chilled, since carbon dioxide dissolves better in a liquid at low temperatures: if your champagne is too chilled, its bubbles will be coarse.
There is a rule for the service of sparkling wines: the serving temperature must be between 8 and 10°c for the aperitif and between 9 and 12°c when they accompany hot dishes.

For brut champagnes, without years and whites of whites: the temperature of service is between 6 and 8°C.
For vintage champagnes and prestige vintages: the serving temperature is between 8 and 10°C.
For very old champagnes, but also for complex and aged white wines : the serving temperature is between 10 and 12°C.

Serving temperature for sweet wines

A sweet wine is a sweet wine, i.e. its sugar content is between 12g/L and 45g/L. If it exceeds this level, it is called sweet wine. These are unctuous wines, and if the serving temperature is too high, the fatness of the wine will be over-emphasized. It would then become rather heavy. It is thus necessary to bring freshness to these wines by the temperature.
For liqueur wines: the serving temperature will be around 6°C.
For simple sweet wines and Muscat: the serving temperature is between 7 and 8°C.
For sweet white wines such as Sauternes: the serving temperature is between 10 and 13°C.

Here it should be remembered that sweet or syrupy wines can be served cooler as an aperitif than with meals.

Changing temperatures

Once you have taken into account these indications on the temperatures of the wines, you can act on the temperatures of your wines during the service, by heating or cooling as required. Be careful, it is absolutely necessary to avoid too abrupt variations in temperature, and thus keep your wine away from heat and cold sources that are too powerful.

To cool the wine, the ice bucket is the fastest and safest way. Add water to the ice, immerse the bottle in it and after a maximum of fifteen minutes you will be able to raise the temperature from 20+C to 8°C. In the refrigerator, it would have taken more than an hour to cool your wine. Moreover, the ice bucket allows a homogeneous cooling of the wine and keeps your bottle cool at the table. It can also be used in the summer for red wines.
Avoid at all costs the freezer, which can make your wine much too cold and may break your bottle.

To warm up the wine you can choose to decant it, which speeds up the warming process. Also, you can leave it in a room at room temperature for two to three hours, avoiding important sources of heat.

Marie Lecrosnier-Wittkowsky for Les Grappes

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