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How to serve wine: the perfect temperature

When it comes to the ideal temperature for serving wine, the subtlest change can enhance or inhibit the flavour to a surprising degree. Too cold and you could lose many subtleties. Too warm and any wine will struggle with its balance. Get it right however and your hosting feels effortless; your wine sings! Find your gadget of choice and be a slave to it. When it comes to wine, attention to detail is everything!

SPARKLING WINE

Like the perfect host, your bubbles should be cool, not cold. The simplest rule to is to split your sparkling wine into two categories for temperature: vintage champagne and everything else. Most non-vintage champagnes and sparkling wines (dry, rosé and sweet) will do best at a cool 8° to 10°C. You can afford to go a touch warmer with vintage Champagne, say 10° to 12°C. This will help release more of those elegant, complex, aromas and flavours. It would be shame to miss them by serving it too cold!

WHITE WINE

With countless grape varieties and styles on offer, getting the temperature right can be a minefield. Keep your cool by classing your wine into one of two groups: crisp and aromatic or weighty and rich. Wines in the first category such as sauvignon blanc or torrontés tend to be younger and simpler, so do best at a cooler temperature of 8° to 10°C. Weightier, richer wines such as chardonnay and semillon (especially those with age or oak), prefer a slightly warmer 10° to 12°C. Again, this allows the more complex flavours to shine. Got something in the middle? Split the difference and get it as close to 10°C as you can.

RED WINE

You may have noticed a theme by now: finer wines, especially those with age and from special vintages and terroirs, tend to show better when they’re a couple of degrees warmer than the younger, easy-drinking and more affordable wines. It’s just the same for reds: single vineyard, vintage reds need that extra degree or two to show off the nuances of the year and the soil, so 15° to 18°C work best here. Otherwise, 14° to 16°C is a happy place for most other red wines.

Tip: Cooling wine down will hide a hot alcohol kick, but it will also mute aromatics and enhance tannins. Use cool as tool but in moderation!