Wine temperature explained

It's hot, no clouds in the sky and we're in a park to relax and read a good book. He was out of the question to remain cloistered within four walls with this resplendent weather. The thermometer showed about 28 degrees. Suddenly comes to me the desire to drink a refreshing glass of white wine. A glass of chilled white wine, easy to drink would be perfect with this heat. Unfortunately, I did not bring with me my ice bucket, which in this case is a key instrument to maintain a constant cool temperature.


This leads me to talk about the temperature of the wine. Everyone cannot improvise to be a sommelier and know all the elements for serving wine. Often neglected, the temperature of the wine can only improve the perception we have of a wine.


Most of the time, wines are drunk way too hot or way too cold. To understand why it's considered as an error, you should know how the temperature affects the wine. Everything is a matter of perception and chemistry.


Effect of the heat

The warmer a wine is, the more we will feel the heat provided by the alcohol. In addition, volatile flavours (flavors of cherries and blackberries that we love so much) will evaporate more easily and more quickly. For white wines and dessert wines, if the wine is served too warm, we lose this freshness that we are looking for. In the case of dessert wines, they appear more sweet and unbalanced. In summary, if the wine is served too warm, we have the perception that wine is heavy, will have a burning sensation (sensation of alcohol in the mouth) and the wine will lack of fruit.


Cold effect

Volatile aromas are definitely very capricious. This time, if the wine is too cold, volatile aromas will no longer manifest themselves. The wine will smell hardly anything. Take the example of garbage in the winter. It’s not that bad if we forget to put the garbage on sidewalk for one week. The same mistake during a summer heat wave could be a different experience...

Cold temperature also influences the sensations that a wine is giving us. In fact, it will increase the sensation of dryness and bitterness of the wine. Experience it with a Chianti Classico. Serve it chilled (8 degrees) and you will see that the feeling is not very pleasant.


It should be served “chambré”

You've probably heard the expression: "The wine should be served chambré”. Chambré is a french word and it means to bring the wine to room temperature. Of course, nowadays, our rooms are much more heated than they were in the 16th century. Therefore, it is wrong to generalize the temperature of the wine service only to one word. All wines required an operating temperature of which may vary according to their styles.


Some rules

Without falling into the generalization, here are some basic rules for the temperature of the wine:

• The tannic red wines should be served between 15-18 degrees C.
• Complex and full-bodied white wines should be served between 12-16 degrees C.
• Light red wines should be served between 10-12 degrees C.
• Wines of desserts, sparkling wines, white wines and rosé wines should be served between 6-10 degrees.