The temperature that a wine is served at can dramatically alter the way it tastes and smells. People generally serve red wine too warm (see my last posting) and white too cold. White wine that has been stored in the refrigerator for several hours is often taken out and immediately served. Refrigerators are typically 35-40 degrees. However, the ideal temperature for serving white wines is 50-55 degrees (45-50 degrees for sparkling wines).
Colder temperatures mask the aromatics and flavor nuances of a white wine. More complex whites are all but ruined by being served too cold as you will not be able to notice the quality. The good news is that if you place both hands around the glass your body heat will warm the wine in minutes. There’s no need to ask for help from the wait-staff (but informing them of the icy temperature should be done).
If you store your white wines at room temperature (70 degrees) here are some quick tips for getting them to appropriate serving temperatures:
- Lighter-bodied whites (e.g. Sauvignon Blanc and Rosé): refrigerate 3 hours prior to serving.
- Complex whites (e.g. an aged Chardonnay): refrigerate 2.5 hour prior to serving.