If you’re new to the art of wine collection, you’ll need to invest in a wine fridge, also known as a wine cooler.
Today’s guide focuses on the optimum storage and serving temperatures for different types of wine, allowing you to enjoy your beverages at their very best.
First, some basics on wine serving.
Wine Serving 101
Wine has been a popular drink for thousands of years. During the 1960s, postwar Americans looking for new experiences embraced wine.
Red and white wines require serving at the right temperature if you want to appreciate the finer qualities of the wine. If you serve wine either too hot or too cold, you might miss the subtleties and complexities that make all varietals and vintages unique.
What’s too hot or too cold for wine, though?
Traditionally, red wines are served at room temperature. That said, contemporary homes in the U.S. are typically much warmer than they once were. When wine experts talk about room temperature in relation to red wine, this is somewhere between 60F and 65F. So, if you keep the temperature inside your home at 70F or above, this is slightly too hot for red wine.
You serve white wines and rose wines chilled at between 50F and 60F. Although these wines are best served chilled, this temperature band is much warmer than a standard kitchen fridge. Most refrigerators are set at somewhere between 35F and 40F. Chilling wine too much can dull some of the flavors. Beyond this, the humidity levels inside a kitchen refrigerator are also not ideal for wine, so invest in a dedicated wine fridge for best results.
You should serve sparkling wines ice cold. Whether the sparkling wine is white, pink, or red, it belongs in the ice bucket. Serve sparkling wines at a chilled 40F. You could get away with storing sparkling wines is a regular fridge, but we still recommend purchasing a wine cooler.
If you need to store mixed wines, dual temp wine coolers, also known as dual zone or twin zone wine coolers, allow you to create separate cooling zones for reds and whites within a single unit.
Wine Storage 101
When it comes to storing wine long-term, most experts recommend chilling the wine to 55F, regardless of the variety, age, or color of the wine. This temperature is the same as the earth underground. For this reason, wine has traditionally been stored in caves or cellars underground.
For all those without the space or the need for an underground wine cellar, a wine fridge will perform the same role without eating up too much space inside your home.
Popping wine into a dedicated wine cooler set to 55F will provide your wines with the ideal temperature and humidity levels to ensure that it ages optimally. Storing wine correctly rather than placing bottles upright in a kitchen refrigerator will also help to avoid corks drying out and wine spoiling.
You can find wine fridges with single cooling zones or dual cooling zones, and coolers can be freestanding or built-in.
So, now you have an understanding of how to store wine, we’ll highlight the main wine varietals and the ideal temperatures for storing them.
At What Temperature Should Wines Be Stored?
Here is a snapshot of the optimum storage temperatures for the following wines:
How to store red wine
Different types of red wine should be stored at different temperatures.
Storing fortified wines
Fortified wines like sherry, madeira, and port contain added liquor. This results in a higher alcohol content. All fortified wines, whether dry or sweet, should be consumed quite warm.
Storing full-bodied reds
The very richest reds respond most favorably to storing fairly warm. This will allow you to experience the texture of the wine, also known as the mouthfeel. Examples include:
All of the above wines can be stored at the same temperature.
Storing medium-bodied redsMedium-bodied red wines are more acidic and have fruitier flavors. Examples include rioja, grenache, malbec, and merlot.
Storing light-bodied reds and rosés
Light red wines are not pale in color, but rather thinner and lighter in texture. These wines can be effectively paired with a wide range of foods. Examples include Beaujolais, Barbera, Chianti, and Pinot Noir.
How to store white wine
Similarly, not all white wines are created equal, and they require different storage temperatures.
Storing full-bodied whites
Rich and creamy white wines like Viognier, Chardonnay, Sauternes, and Montrachet should be served quite warm.
Storing medium-bodied whites
Medium-bodied white wines, sweet or dry, have less alcohol content than full-bodied whites. This means that the flavors of medium-bodied reds will not be excessively dulled by chilling. Both Riesling and Chablis are best stored and served cold.
Storing light-bodied whites
The lightest wines and the most refreshing of all varietals, you should store and serve light-bodied whites cold.
How to store sparkling wine and dessert wine
All champagnes, sparkling wines, and dessert wines are best vigorously chilled. This allows the carbonated beverages to remain crisp and refreshing.
How to Store Mixed Wines
A dual zone wine fridge is the most effective method of storing mixed reds and whites.
For most beginners to wine collecting, setting a twin zone cooler to 60F for reds and 50F for whites is an easy solution to storing mixed wines.
If you are a committed wine enthusiast and you are determined to find the optimum temperature for each of your preferred varietals, you could utilize your wine fridge differently…
Set the temperature of one zone at 55F for long-term storage. You can then use the other cooling zone for bottles you intend to serve soon. You can then make tweaks accordingly and keep bottles both short-term and long-term.
If you arrived here today at Royal Tavern with no idea of the different temperatures different wines require to taste their best, you should now be confident of serving friends and family with the perfect glass of vino.
If you stick with 55F for storage temperature, you’ll keep all types of wine at its best. You can then focus on serving temperatures to ensure that friends, family, and guests get their wine at the perfect drinking temperature.
We are back after a festive break, and we’ll be bringing you fresh guides on all aspects of wine collecting daily. Our aim is to help wine collectors of all experience levels with our jargon-free guides to the finest wines and how to enjoy them at their very best.
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