The "right" temperature is a decisive factor for the optimal development of the aromas when enjoying wine. The wrong drinking temperature can also degrade a top wine to a meaningless draught wine. The volatile components evaporate when poured into the glass or decanted if necessary. This is accelerated with increasing temperature. When perceiving, the smell is involved first and only then the taste. The extent of the sensations is rather neutralized below 8 °Celsius, is still limited at 12 °Celsius and is very high at 18 °Celsius. The wine temperature is also closely related to the sensation of taste. Thus, sour and sweet are perceived more strongly at higher temperatures, but astringent, bitter and salty are perceived noticeably more strongly at lower temperatures. By means of various thermometers, the temperature in the bottle or glass can be quickly determined.
A wine should be served about 2 °Celsius rather too cold than too warm. This is because warming up occurs relatively quickly by itself without any additional effort. At over 20° Celsius the alcohol begins to evaporate strongly, which can "unbalance" a wine. With sparkling or tangy wines, more carbon dioxide is released at higher temperatures, which leads to an unpleasantly frothy taste. Flavour defects of a simple wine can be masked by colder temperatures.
The ideal temperature depends primarily on the wine (type and age), but also depends on the season. In summer, all wines usually taste better when they are a few degrees cooler than in winter. A special wine climate chamber with different climate zones is best suited for this purpose, from which the wine can be taken at the ideal temperature. Otherwise, the wine must be brought to the right temperature.
Putting the bottle in a freezer is not recommended as shock therapy and could also end fatally if the bottle breaks. In a refrigerator it might take too long. To cool down as quickly as possible, various devices are available, such as Rapid Ice (5 to 10 minutes) or Ravi Wine Chiller (immediate cooling when poured). Exposing the wine bottle to cold running water is a very good option "in an emergency". To prevent the wine from heating up too quickly after opening, place the bottle in a wine cooler, which is available in different types (clay, stainless steel, plexiglass). For a sparkling wine (sparkling wine, champagne) a champagne bucket is often used.
A wine cellar that is ideal for storing wines has a temperature of around 8 to 12 °C and a humidity of 70 to 80%. This is the ideal temperature for many, dry White wines. Full-bodied, sophisticated white wines that have been aged in wooden barrels or barriques also possess a certain amount of tannins. Therefore the temperature should be at least 2°C higher. Especially carbon dioxide rich white wines and Sparkling wines respectively Sparkling wines usually taste best at 8 °C and lower. Vintage champagnes(Millésime), on the other hand, should be treated like white wines because they are generally more aromatic.
At Red wines the room temperature is still often considered ideal. The persistent but false rumour comes from times when the temperature in rooms was 15 to a maximum of 18 °C, which would be closer to the "right" red wine temperature. Today, however, the room temperature is 21 °C and more, which is too warm for red wine. Sometimes the vague term "temperate" is also used, which means an "ideal drinking temperature". As a rule of thumb, the more tannic, the higher the temperature. The range is between 12 to 14 °C for light red wines and rosés and 16 to 18 °C for tannin-rich top wines.
At Sweet wines and Spirituous beverages there has been a total "change of heart" in a positive way. In the past, the rule was that they should be enjoyed at 6 to 8 °C. However, this neutralizes the taste. This does not play a role with vodka, but it does play a role with aromatic brandies and Trockenbeerenauslese.
The values given in tables and often also on labels refer to the temperature in the glass. This is because the poured wine warms up within a very short time. At a room temperature of 21°C, this is as follows: for a wine between 4 and 10°C by about 1°C in 3 to 4 minutes, and for a wine between 10 and 15°C by 1°C in 6 to 8 minutes. This means, for example, for a white wine at 6 to 8 °C a maximum of 15 minutes until it reaches the ideal temperature of 10 to 12 °C. Therefore, as already mentioned above, a wine may well be a little cooler when poured. If the temperature is too cold, a warm water bucket is permissible.
There are countless tables that indicate the correct drinking temperature for almost every type of wine. However, the recommended values often vary considerably. Especially detailed is that of the British wine author Hugh Johnson in his book "Great Johnson". The taster Émile Peynaud (1912-2004) gets by with a simple table in his standard work "The High School for Wine Connoisseurs". The one below is similar and has been supplemented with some spirits. The colder the temperature, the more the taste aromas fade into the background. As with "Which wine to go with which food", however, the rule here is "it fits what tastes". It is important to gather your own experiences, therefore records are very helpful.
Type of wine, spirit drink
|Beer, tasteless brandy, grain, vodka||6 to 8||Fridge|
|Sparkling wines(cava, champagne, sparkling wine)
fresh sparkling white wines, sparkling wines(Frizzante, Secco)
|8 to 10||well chilled|
|aromatic dry white wines, rosé, sherry, port,
Ausbruch, Trockenbeerenauslese, straw wine, ice wine
|10 to 12||cellar cooling|
|light, low tannin, fruity red wines(Beaujolais Nouveau)||9 to 13||cellar cooling|
|spicy red wines, full-bodied white wines, possibly aged in barrique||14 to 16||Transition|
|tannin-rich red wines, vintage port
Brandy (fruit, berries), marc(grappa, Marc)
Calvados, gin, ouzo, rum, tequila, whiskey
|16 to 18||tempered|
|Top red wines (old Bordeaux and varieties)||19 to 20||chambrized|
|Brandy(Armagnac, Cognac, Lourinhã, Metaxa)||20||Room temp.|