The serving temperature of the wine, sparkling wine included, is more important that it may seem. An incorrect temperature varies significantly its phisical characteristics and therefore the final perception of the wine.
It has always been said: “white wine is served fresh or cold and red wine at room temperature”. Although partially true, the supposedly ideal room temperature attributed to red wines is one of the most widespread myths. Lets take a look at the fundamentals….
The ideal temperature of a wine
The ideal temperature depends basically on two factors: the concentration of tannins and the acidity. The acidity is more noticeable at a higher temperature, then the higher the acidity the lower the wine temperature should be. In the same way, a warmer temperature is indicated if you want to enhace the tannins (bitter by definition), take this into account especially when dealing with powerful wines, aged over longer periods.
The paramenters are very simple, from 5 to 20ºC. Below 5ºC, the aromas and flavours are so weaken that are almost imperceptible and over 20ºC the alcohol will evaporate fast, turning the wine too coarse and alcoholic.
The concept of room temperature originates in France in the Middle Ages with the French term “chambrée” but we have to consider that the room temperature in a French castle centuries ago was probably closer to 15-16ºC rather than the 19-21ºC of the average room temperature nowadays.
With this in mind, the wine serving temperature should be aproximately as shown below:
Young sparkling wines: 6-8º
Reserve sparkling wines: 8-10º
Grand Reserve sparkling wines: 8-12º
Young white wines: 6-8º
Barrel aged white wines: 8-10º
Rosé wines: 6-8º
Young red wines: 12-14º
Aged red wines: 14-16º
Long aged red wines: 16-18º
In order to preserve the right temperature, and despite some may consider it an anathema, we wouldn’t mind being served a red wine in an ice bucket because it is one of the best ways to keep a rather constant temperature. If needed, put the red wine in and out the bucket to keep the temperature to your liking.
Remember that this figures should be taken as a rough guide, if you like your sparkling wine frozen like a snowball you have our most sincere sympathies 😉
“Rollingdale 2006 Pinot Gris Ice Wine”. By Mary St.Germain-Brown