Help! Which Wines Do I Serve at What Temperatures?

Have you ever been standing in line at Starbucks (or your preferred coffee house) andtherm heard someone order their latte at 180 degrees?

They’re not showing off. There’s actually a good reason for it. Most hot coffee drinks are prepared at between 145 and 165 degrees, but many believe that the optimum temperature is 180 degrees. Beyond that, if you’re going to be carrying the cup outdoors in cold weather for more than a few minutes, that drink is going to cool off quickly.

So, it makes perfect sense for one to specify a higher-than-normal temperature, or to simply order the drink “extra hot.”

But what about wine? Is there an optimum temperature for serving wine? Most experts would tell you yes, and I agree. But it’s a bit more complicated than coffee.

For instance, there are different recommended temperatures for white wines than for reds. As a general rule, reds should be consumed at room temperature, while whites benefit from a little bit of a chilling down.

That’s a good general rule of thumb. But if you are a perfectionist, you’d probably prefer to have a specific temperature for a specific type of wine. The website Cooler Wines to the rescue with this comprehensive temperature guide.

Remember, these are guidelines, not hard and fast rules. For example, I will sometimes chill down a red wine a little bit if the weather is hot and I’m serving the wine with barbecue. Considering cold beer is the typical beverage of choice with barbecue, I see nothing wrong with that.

I’ll also occasionally “break the rules” with white wines. Keep in mind that the colder a wine is, the more its flavor is muted. So, if I really want to experience the full flavor of a white, I won’t chill it at all; I’ll simply take it off the rack and open it.

I do follow one rule, without exception, when it comes to wine-serving temperatures. I never, ever, drink it at 180 degrees.

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Posted in Wine in the Glass
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