Best Temperatures for Wine

Did you know that the temperature of your wine will affect how it tastes? 

In fact, if you chat to any sommelier, they’ll tell you that Australians should take their white wines out of the fridge and put their red wines in the fridge.

Here's why:

The Temperature of Medieval Castles

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The problem with the concept of “room temperature” is that it’s not based on the temperature of Australian rooms. In fact, wines were often enjoyed in cold, stone, European manor houses and castles, where the average room temperature was about 16 degrees Celcius.

Meanwhile, down South of the equator, the average room temperature in an Australian house sits at 20-25°C. So what we actually consider “room temperature” isn't the ideal temperature to enjoy most wines.

So, what temperatures should you drink your wine at?

White Wine Temperatures

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As a general rule of thumb, white wines do need to be served chilled, especially in our warm, Australian climate. However, if you currently have a bottle of white wine in your fridge, it's probably anywhere from 3°C to 9°C too cold.

Most fridges are set from 1°C to 3°C, which is great for preserving food, but the delicate bouquet of your wine won't get a chance to open up if you serve it that cold. You’ll also notice that a lot of the buttery, velvety mouthfeel associated with some of our bigger white wines will disappear if served too cold and all you’ll get are the acidic flavour notes.

When it comes to softer, lighter wines such as Sauvignon Blanc, it's best to serve them around 6°C to 8°C.

Slightly up the thermometer, our famous Rieslings will taste their best at around 9°C. Then, at the top of the category for white wines, dessert wines and Chardonnay should be enjoyed around 12°C or 13°C.

If you do have a bottle of white in the fridge, let it sit out of the fridge for a few minutes before you pour it. You’ll be amazed at the difference it makes to your wine.

Red Wine Temperatures

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Red wines are best enjoyed a little warmer than white wines, but if you serve your red wine too warm, you’ll notice that the alcohol tends to overpower the bouquet and taste of our bold, Australian reds.

When it comes to our lighter style reds such as Pinot Noir, you want to try and pour them at around 15°C, which is 5 to 10 degrees colder than most Australian dining rooms!

Even our world-famous Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz should be enjoyed at 18°C. If you want your guests to really taste the intricacies and bold textures of our Australian reds, then it’s best to pop them in an ice bath, or the fridge for ten to twenty minutes before you serve them.

Experiment for Yourself

If you’re dubious of the difference temperature can make to your wines, then why not try it for yourself?

The next time you entertain friends, pour half of a bottle into a (clean) spare bottle and put half of the wine in the fridge, and leave the other half at room temperature. 

After twenty minutes, pour everyone a glass of the cold wine and a glass of the wine left out at room temperature, then take your time to compare the scent and taste of each glass.

You’re bound to notice the big difference that a few degrees can make.

Roberta Marchesini