Vino. Vin. κρασί. Vinho. Wine. No matter what language you speak, wine is the beverage of choice for cultures across the world. There’s a culture of wine that goes beyond the kitchen table, with bottles ranging from $2.99 for the 3-buck Chuck variety to $195,000 for a 12 liter bottle of Château Margaux being retailed at the Le Clos wine shop in Dubai.
Trying to pick the right bottle and the correct vintage for you palate and more importantly your budget can be a fun challenge. But when you bring that wine home, what do you do with it? And what temperature should you serve it at to bring out all the flavors?
Wine Storage Temperature
The ideal storage temperature for all wines is 50-55 degrees. Why you ask? The Arrhenius Equation states that for ever 18 degrees the temperature of wine increases past the starting point of 50 degrees, the chemical reaction increases 50 percent to 200 percent. So by keeping the wine at the ideal storage temperature, you can keep your bottle in it’s ideal balance for many years. Know that temperature is the most important aspect of the wine process, so if you plan to store your wine, make sure the temperature is right.
Wine Serving Temperatures
So you’ve stored your win at 50 degrees, but now it’s time to enjoy your vintage bottle? For many who haven’t studied wine, you believe that whites get served right out of the fridge and reds should be served at room temperature. This is a common misconception, although based in some truth. Here’s the guide for the perfect temperatures to serve wine — any type.
Sweet Whites, Dry Sherry and Madeira
Sweet Whites, dry sherry, and madeiras and should be served at 43 degrees to 47 degrees. This means if you’ve stored it at the temperatures above, you need to slightly chill the wine. Be sure to note the normal refrigerator chills to 40 degrees or less, meaning the ideal bottle should sit outside of the fridge before serving for a couple minutes to ensure the flavors aren’t muted and the full fruity flavors can be enjoyed.
Champagne and Sparkling Wines
Champagne and sparkling wines should also be served slightly above room temperature, at 43 degrees to 50 degrees. This will preserve the freshness and crispness and ensure the perfect sip every time.
Light Whites and Roses
Light whites and roses are still chilled, at 45 degrees to 50 degrees. This will allow the complexity of the flavors come through. If these are too cold, they can taste flat, muting the flavors and reducing the experience.
Heavy Whites and Light Reds
Heavy whites and light reds should be served at 50 degrees to 55 degrees to release the complexity and aromatics of the wine. If you have a stored these at the ideal temperature, they are ready to be served directly out of the cellar. If your light reds have been sitting at room temperature, put them in the fridge or in an quick ice back to cool them slightly when served.
Tawny Ports and Sweet Sherry
Tawny ports and sweet sherry should be served at 54 degrees to 61 degrees. Again, this is slightly below the normal room temperature and slightly above the storage temperature.
Medium Bodied Reds
Medium bodied reds should be served at 55 degrees. This falls in line exactly with the storage temperature and will bring out the full complexity and aromatics of the flavors.
Full Bodied and Aged Reds
Full bodied and aged reds should be served at 59 to 64 degrees, slightly cooler than room temperature and slightly warmer than the storage temperature. Thiswill help de-emphasize the bitter aspects of the wine and make for a cleaner taste.
Sweet Madeira and Vintage Port
The sweet madeira and vintage ports are the closest to being served at room temperature, with an ideal serving at 64 degrees to 68 degrees. This will make the taste more supple and bring out the full aramaic qualities of your vintage port or sweet madeira.
While there are plenty of other things to learn to become a true wine connoisseur, storing and serving your wine at the perfect temperatures is the easiest way to get the most out of your bottle, no matter what the cost.
Featured photo credit: SantiMB via flickr.com