Some Like It Cold… But Not Too Cold

On a recent trip to Telluride, Colorado, my wine was opened way too cold, which got me thinking about wine and temperature. A wine’s taste and smell can be greatly affected by temperature, and serving wine at the wrong temperature may rob you of the best possible experience. Luckily, the guidelines for ideal temperatures of different wines are relatively simple.

While I believe you should try different temperatures to discover what your personal preferences are, ideal temperatures are a great starting point when exploring wines. Use this guide to help you find your wine temperature sweet spot!

Red wine should be served cool, 60-70°F. Personally, I like to start at a cool temperature (60-65°F) and let the wine gradually warm up. 65°F is my sweet spot. If the wine gets too warm, the subtle fruit, mineral, spices, and other factors may be thrown off, making the wine less enjoyable.

Whites & Rosés
The general rule of thumb is to serve these cold, 50-60°F. What do I like? I cool my rosés more (about 50°F), and prefer my whites on the higher end of the temperature spectrum, about 60°F. But, different folks, different strokes! Many people want their white wine served near freezing. Give a slightly warmer white a try, and see if you pick up on the more subtle flavors and aromas. These factors can help let you know where a wine is from or what grape it may be. Those extra degrees highlight the character winemakers strive so hard to craft.

Serve your bubblies ice cold, 40-50°F. Go as cold as cold can be without freezing. Ever opened a warm bottle of bubbly? There’s a good chance it went BOOM!  It needs to be cold. Too warm, and the acid and tartness will amplify too much, making it unenjoyable.

Wondering how I solved my wine temperature problem in Telluride? The wine, a Chablis from Burgundy, France, was way too cold, probably around 40°F, and it was an icy 15°F outside. Sitting in the glass, the wine would almost form ice crystals. If ever there was a wine not to serve too cold, this was it. As you can see in the photo, I placed the bottle on a railing and let the sun do the warming work for me (a happy accident that it was a great photo op!) Then I enjoyed one of the best wines I’ve had in a long time.

Interested in trying a Chablis? In Maynards Market, we have two available now, but you can expect more to come in the near future:

  • Louis Michel, Chablis, Chardonnay
  • Simmonnet-Febvre, Chablis, Chardonnay

In the meantime, explore Chardonnays from similar areas in France or the Leeuwin Estate Chardonnay from the Margaret River in Western Australia. This wine is not available for retail purchase in the Market, but we would love to open a bottle for you during your next visit to Maynards Kitchen for dinner!

Stop in and see me! I can show you, even with our wines by the glass, how temperature affects the taste and smell of a wine.


Will Olendorf, Maynards Market & Kitchen Sommelier