It is well-known and spoken about in the wine community: Americans drink their whites too cold; their reds too warm. While this is a grossly generalized statement, it exists for a reason. For example, when you dine out at a restaurant, the white wines are sitting in a fridge that (for food safety) has to be below 41°F. Most clock in around 38°F. The reds on the other hand are generally stored on the counter at the beginning of the shift, and by the time you are served a glass at 7:30 pm, it has taken on the ambient temperature of the restaurant which can be anywhere between 70 – 80°F. Too cold for whites, too hot for reds. But why?
When a white wine is served too cold (or any wine for that matter) you will not get the full flavor and bouquet. If you happen to find yourself in ownership of a bottle that exhibits flavors or nuances you’re less inclined to enjoy and you don’t want to waste the wine, you can cool the wine way down to make it palatable by shutting those flavors down.
When a red wine is served too warm, they take on strange off-berry flavors, hints of musty laundry, and can ascend the heat=crazy flavors scale to the point of being strangely acidic and off-nutty.
Below is our handy chart for guidance on what the best temperatures for serving are: