You've sourced and stored the perfect bottles of wine. Now it’s time to open them and they deserve to show their best, so getting the temperature right is key.

Wine serving temperature: How to get it right on Christmas Day

Room Temperature

Many of us have heard, especially for reds, that wines should be served at ‘room temperature’. What is room temperature? It varies depending on time of year, to type of property, to whether you have the heating or air conditioning on.

‘Room temperature’ was set in dining rooms before the use of central heating or insulation; so on average was 3-6°C less than modern homes. This equates to approximately 18°C (65°F), so you may have to chill your reds down a bit.

Champagne or bubbles

Younger styles ¦ 5-10°C (41-50°F)

Aged styles ¦ 5-10°C (41-50°F)

  • 3-4 hours before in the fridge

If there’s not space in the fridge, check the temperature outside, a couple of hours in the garden can do the trick. Ice buckets are also a good way of bringing a bottle down to temperature quickly.

White

Light bodied whites ¦ 5-8°C (41-47°F)

  • 3-4 hours before in the fridge

Medium bodied whites or aromatic whites ¦ 10-12°C (50-61°F)

Full bodied whites ¦ 10-14°C (50-57°F)

  • 1.5-2 hours before in the fridge

Chilling wine down also makes it harder to pick up flavours in a wine, which is why uncomplex, dry whites are normally served well chilled.

Red

Light to medium bodied reds ¦ 12-16°C (54-61°F)

  • 0.5 hours before in the fridge.

Fuller bodied reds ¦ 15-18°C (59-65°F)

Tannin chilled down can become overly pronounced and leave a metallic taste. Lighter bodied reds with low tannin can be chilled down to be served such as Valpolicella and Beaujolais.

Sweet

Fuller sweet wines ¦ 10-12°C (50-61°F)

If you have a light vins doux naturel this can be treated like a light bodied white and chilled down further.

Port

Vintage ¦ 18°C (65°F)

Tawny ¦ 12-16°C (54-61°F)

The older the tawny Port the warmer it should be served.


More wine serving advice: