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The below article was contributed by Kate Reekie from Taylors Wines

How To Turn A Good Wine Into A Great Wine - Why Temperature Matters

When it comes to enjoying our favourite bottle of wine, many of us will pour a glass without any consideration for its temperature. Sure, we know that red wine should be served at “around room temperature” and that white wine should be served chilled, but it isn’t actually this simple. In fact, each wine variety has its own optimum drinking temperature, which can actually enhance its taste.

Don’t miss a trick; enjoy your wine how it’s supposed to be enjoyed by serving it at the correct temperature.

So, why does temperature matter?

To winemakers, experts and aficionados alike, the temperature of the wine in the glass is of the utmost importance - more important than the shape of the glass it is served in or whether it has been allowed to ‘breathe’ or not. This is because the temperature has a direct effect on the flavour of the wine in your mouth - along with the aromas, and the balance between subtle and dominant characters.

Serving wine at the wrong temperature can have an enormous impact. It’s not dramatic to state that if two glasses of the same wine variety was served, one at the correct temperature and the other at the wrong temperature, the dissimilarity in taste would be outstanding.

What is the optimum drinking temperature of wine? 

Every single wine variety has an optimum drinking temperature - the temperature at which it tastes best.

Although it is generally acknowledged that red wine should be served warmer than white wine, the details are more intricate - down to the very degree Celsius. 

The optimum drinking temperature of red wine

Red wine lovers may enjoy the ease of not having to chill a bottle of red wine before drinking it - grabbing it from your kitchen bench where it has been sitting at room temperature is fine, right? Wrong.

Generally, the optimum drinking temperature across the red wine variety lies between the 15°C and 18°C mark. However, in warm climates like Australia, where room temperature in the warmer months regularly surpasses this bracket (and can reach 25°C or higher), red wine indeed must be chilled before it is served. If red wine is served too warm, it risks tasting too alcoholic and the flavours will be totally overpowered.

The chief winemaker at Taylors Wines recommends enjoying the following red wine varieties at these temperatures. 

Pinot Noir: 12-14°C

Tempranillo: 14-16°C

Cabernet Sauvignon; Merlot; Shiraz: 16-18°C

So, if you have a nice bottle of Pinot Noir waiting for you at home, don’t dive into it without regard for the temperature. Chill it so that it sits between 12-14°C. It’ll taste so much better.

The optimum drinking temperature of white wine 

If you have a penchant for white wine, the same attention to the temperature of the bottle is essential for ensuring it tastes as good as possible.

Many of us will be well-acquainted with the foul taste of an over-warm white wine, but you shouldn’t underestimate just how unpalatable a white wine can be if it’s too cold. The colder a white wine is, the more acidic and “tarty” it will taste due to the suppression of the fruit characters. An over-chilled white wine will appear to be dulled and lacking in varietal character.

Follow these temperature recommendations for different types of white wine varieties:

Sparkling; Moscato; Sauvignon Blanc; Pinot Gris: 6-8°C

Riesling; Unwooded Chardonnay: 8-10°C

Chardonnay: 10-12°C

How to store and serve wine at the correct temperature

Throughout a wine’s lifecycle - from the moment the vines are planted to the moment you pour it into a glass to enjoy - temperature plays an important role. If any wine is stored at the wrong temperature in your home, for example, you could potentially ruin the taste before you’ve even opened it. Make sure that you keep your stored wine from anything that emits heat - such as ovens, fireplaces or heaters and indeed anywhere that experiences big temperature fluctuations are not suitable for storing wine.

If you store your white wine in the fridge, try taking it out around 30 minutes before you intend to serve it. This means that your wine will have a chance to transition from the standard fridge temperature be chilled within the standard fridge temperature (typically 0-4°C), to the optimum drinking temperature before it is enjoyed.

Another trick is to smell the wine before serving. If you can’t smell the aromas, chances are that the wine is too cold and the flavours have become muted. Leave it to warm up for a while longer and smell it again. If in doubt, it’s better to serve a white wine too cold instead of too warm.

Conclusion

Get the most out of your wine by serving it at the right temperature. Even if you are drinking a bottle that is on the cheaper end of the scale, drinking it at its optimum temperature will make for a more enjoyable experience.

You have the power to define your wine through temperature control. Don’t compromise on the flavour, enhance it!