When it comes to serving and enjoying wine at its optimal taste, the temperature in which the wine is to be served is one of the simplest and yet one of the most important steps you can take. But a lot of people miss this very common rule, and there are a lot of people who actually miss out on optimal flavors and qualities in great wine, just because the wine was opened and served either too warm or too cold. To answer some of these wine temperature questions, let’s first take a look at the very basics of serving, pouring, tasting and enjoying a glass of wine.
Why chill wine?
Much like storing your wine, keeping your wine at a constant, cool temperature will help to bring out and enhance the wine’s unique flavors and aromas, when opened. But it is very important that your wine is served at the right temperature! It is a common misconception that red wine should always be served at room temperature – this idea is actually misunderstood. When wine was first created, it was stored in underground cellars, which are always slightly cooler than room temperature. But, that being said, when a wine is served too cold, you are going to miss out on all those important flavors and aromas, because they have been too muted by the cool temperature.
What does chilling actually do to the wine?
As the temperatures rise from a pour of chilled wine into a glass, the character of wine will develop into its full potential, where the taster will be able to enjoy the full spectrum of aromas and flavors. When the wine is chilled, the optimal flavors and aromas of the wine are put into a dormant state, which slows down the aging and oxygenating process in the bottle.
What temperature should I serve my wine at?
It depends. Whether your wine is a sparkly French Champagne or a lush and bold California Cabernet Sauvignon, the optimal serving temperature varies by a few factors, including the color of the wine, the body or texture of the wine, and more. Here are a few quick guides:
Full Body Reds: Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Chianti, Sangiovese, Shiraz, Zinfandel, Merlot
Full-bodied reds should be stored at below 65 degrees Fahrenheit, but no lower than 45 degrees. The optimum temperature for storing full-bodied reds is between 60 – 65 degrees F. When serving a glass of full-bodied red wine, it should be served on the cool side. This is contrary to the popular belief that red wine should be served at room temperature. Think about it! As we said above, when wine was first created, it was stored in underground cellars and brought up to serve at slightly cooler than room temperature. So when you are drinking a glass of red wine with your dinner, be sure to pop it into the fridge for anywhere from 15 – 20 minutes while you’re cooking.
Full Body Whites: Chardonnay, Semillon, Chenin Blanc, White Bordeaux, White Rioja
Store and serve full-bodied white wines cold, ideally around 45 degrees Fahrenheit. When serving cold white wine such as these and light-bodied white wines, be sure to serve it in a glass with a stem. The glass should be held by the stem, so as not to let the hands warm up the wine, if they are holding the glass by the bowl. Storing full-bodied white wines in the refrigerator right up until the moment of serving is perfectly acceptable – in fact, once you have poured, you should really stick a wine stopper in the bottle and put the wine back into the refrigerator, if you can. If you are unable to do this, an ice bucket is another great alternative.
Light Body Reds: Pinot Noir, Cinsault, Gamay, Grenache, Nebbiolo, Zweigelt, Lambrusco, Some Rosé
Served at a slightly cooler temperature than red wines with medium or full bodies, light bodied reds like the ever popular Pinot Noir optimally should be stored around 55 degrees Fahrenheit and served cool. So if you choose to store a light bodied red wine in your fridge (which is acceptable, but you should probably store it in the door so it doesn’t get packed into the cold, say in the back of the fridge or the crisper drawers – storing in the door gives it a rush of warmer air every time the door is opened), be sure to take it out of your fridge about 30 minutes before you open it.
Light Body Whites: Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Vinho Verde, Pinot Gris, Albariño, Grüner Veltliner, Some Rosé, Moscato, Pink Moscato
Serve light-bodied white wines cold, and store them in the refrigerator or in your basement, if you live in a colder climate. Served cold in a glass with a stem, light bodied white wines should form a nice fog of condensation on the glass when they are poured. And much to the chagrin of wine snobs around the world, an ice cube or two in a glass of very light-bodied white wine never hurt anyone – try it in the summertime, it’ll change your life! An ice bucket is optimal for an opened bottle of light bodied white wine, but if you don’t have one available, pop a wine stopper in and put it back in the fridge until you’re ready for the next glass.
Sparkling Wines: Brut Champagne, Brut Rosé, Sparkling Wine (USA), Cava (Spain), Prosecco (Italy), Moscato D’Asti
Sparkling wines such as Champagne and Cava should be stored and served at the coldest possible temperature, definitely the coldest of the bunch. 42 degrees Fahrenheit is a perfect temperature to store Champagne and sparkling wine. In other words, keep it in your fridge at all times! This is another wine that does best with an ice bucket after the wine bottle has been opened, as well.
We at WineBaskets.com hope that you find these wine tutorials helpful and informative, and most of all, we hope that your next bottle of wine is the best you’ve ever had. Find a fantastic wine library, wine accessories and enjoy sitewide free shipping always, at WineBaskets.com.
The temperatures are dropping, we’re stoking the fireplaces and putting on those fuzzy socks – it’s time for a glass of wine! Here are some of WineBaskets.com’s recommendations for reds and whites with a perfectly autumnal feel.
Perfect Red & White Wines for Autumn
Giving off sweet and light aromas of citrus blossom and grapefruit, this creamy and lush wine offers lovely apple and pear flavors, while showing crispness on the palette. Medium-bodied and balanced, this white wine is perfect as an aperitif, or served with salmon, main-course salads, or Thai and Asian influenced dishes.
From its lovely dark violet color to its luscious fruit aromas, this wine captures the alluring essence of Sonoma County Zinfandel. On the palate, layers of wild blueberry, blackberry and cassis are underscored by an elegant structure that includes supple, refined tannins, balanced acidity and just a hint of juicy sweetness and toasty oak.
Twomey Russian River Valley Pinot Noir is a rich, multi-faceted wine with great fruit and spice expression. It has a dark, cherry-red color and a complex nose of potpourri, ripe strawberries, cardamom, nutmeg and peat. It has a fruit-sweet attack, a fleshy mid-palate and notes of blond tobacco and coffee bean on the long and slightly tannic finish. With proper cellaring, this wine will give drinking pleasure through 2024.
This crisp and fresh Chardonnay opens with aromas of orange blossom, lemon oil and toasted brioche with sweet cream apple butter. Karia charms with its balance of ripe fruit, understated barrel spice, mouth-filling texture and refreshing acidity. The palate is loaded with flavors of ripe stone fruit and apple blossom that lead to a persistent citrus and spice infused finish.
The 40-acre Tenma Vineyard is located in the foothills of Mt. St. Helena, Napa Valley, where our reserve Cabernet Sauvignon is produced in partnership with renowned winemaker Robin Akhurst of Clos Pegase. Bold and unctuous, this Cabernet boasts opulent flavors of jammy black fruit and a touch of creamy vanilla.
Domaine Huet Vouvray Le Mont Moelleux Chenin Blanc
This Chenin Blanc from the Loire Valley comes from one of the most esteemed wineries in the appellation. Biodynamically farmed, all the grapes are harvested by hand, resulting in a soft, rich and elegant wine. Jonagold apple, green melon, Bosc pear and quince flavors streaming through, gilded with heather, honeysuckle and verbena notes on the long, lithe finish. Remarkably elegant despite the off-dry style.
Welcome to Wine Wednesday! What better way to get over the hump of a busy work week! Let’s explore and learn about a great wine! From Chardonnay sipped on a casual evening to a rare Cabernet for special occasions, each week we feature a wine available in our gifts. We’ll speak to the history of the makers behind the bottle, and we’ll tell you all about the flavors to be had inside.
This Week’s #WineWednesday – Luminist Chardonnay, Martin Craig Wines
About This Wine. With a brightness that can only be claimed by Sonoma County’s sun-soaked Russian River Valley, Luminist Chardonnay is a limited-release boutique wine, made in collaboration renowned winemaker Glenn Hugo. Each of Sonoma County’s prestigious regions for growing Chardonnay offer a distinct profile, and the Russian River Valley brings elegance and richness.
Tasting Notes. Aged in new French oak barrels, this vibrant Russian River Chardonnay boasts radiant aromas of orange blossom and lemon zest. It is balanced by apricot and peach notes with a light oak finish. Light-bodied and food-friendly, Luminist shows a focused, brilliant acidity on the finish.
Blend. 100% Chardonnay.
Food Pairing. The refreshing acidity in Luminist pairs perfectly with poached salmon topped with lemon aioli, tiger prawns sautéed in garlic butter, a warm vegetable risotto terrine, or bay scallops in a tarragon cream sauce.
Try Martin Craig’s Luminist Chardonnay in its own crate or paired with two other boutique limited release companion wines in the Private Reserve Basket.
Comment Below. Have you had a chance to taste Luminist Chardonnay? If so, what did you think? Let us know in the comments below. If not, tell us about your favorite Chardonnay and why you enjoy it!
Spring is upon us, and with that come the backyard get-togethers. Here at WineBaskets.com, we can’t think of anything better than a sunny spring afternoon spent on the deck among the blossoming trees, sipping on a glass of Sauvignon Blanc. Of course it doesn’t have to be Sauv – here are our favorite wines to sip this spring, along with some party-worthy appetizer pairings to bring out the best in your wine.
Our first pick is Benziger Family Winery Sonoma County Chardonnay. It’s a medium-bodied, well-balanced Chardonnay with mouth-watering fruit and lively acid. Flavors of lemon, apple, pear and apricot pop on the palate, before subtle, creamy butter and meringue notes and a luscious, refreshing finish. We love this Chardonnay, especially paired with the blonde apricot chocolate bar from Amedei Tuscany, in the California Tasting Tour Wine Basket. This basket not only includes Benziger Chardonnay, but three more bottles from fabulous California wineries, ready to stock your cellar.
Next up is one of the Pacific Northwest’s best Pinot Gris from Elk Cove. Giving off sweet and light aromas of citrus blossom and grapefruit, this creamy and lush wine offers lovely apple and pear flavors, while showing crispness on the palette. Medium-bodied and balanced, this white wine is perfect served with the wild-caught smoked salmon in the Wines of the Pacific Northwest gift basket.
Let’s move on to the reds with another Washington wine – Chateau Ste. Jean’s Soiree Red Blend. Vivid aromas of blackberries, fresh plum and chocolate follow through to rich flavors of black cherries, fresh berry pie and notes of black tea. The wine is well structured with a juicy mouthfeel and a full, lingering finish. Sip this luscious red wine with some dark chocolate, like the 72% Godiva tablet in the Winemaker’s Estate Gift Basket.
Another red wine we’re loving this spring is Oregon’s Erath Pinot Noir. It’s in the Pacific Northwest version of our Coastal Cove Wine Case gift, and we definitely recommend that you pair it with a berry tart!
And lastly, what kind of spring party is it without a little bubbly? Domaine Ste. Michelle’s Brut Cuvee is a stylish sparking wine from Washington, crafted in the classic French method. Crisp yet delicate flavors of apple, pear and citrus give way to toast and tangerine on the finish. Michelle Brut is the perfect accompaniment for salty snacks like calamari and caviar, or sweets like chocolate oranges.
No matter what you serve and sip this spring, we hope the season is filled with good wine, great friends and even better memories. Visit WineBaskets.com for even more unique and memorable wine gift ideas, and give a toast to generosity!
Welcome to Tasting Notes – a place to explore and discover your new favorite wine. Together we’ll taste with curiosity and attention, and hopefully learn a thing or two in the process! Check back with WineBaskets.com’s Uncorked blog regularly for new installments of Tasting Notes and so much more.
Taste & Discover – Conundrum White by Caymus
Conundrum wines were born about 30 years ago, when Caymus Co-Founder Chuck Wagner sat at the dining room table mixing his wines to create the “perfect glass” to pair with his dinner. At that time, blending wines was almost unthinkable, but nevertheless, his hold experiments ushered in a whole new trend. Today, Conundrum is as original an idea as it was in the beginnings. With fruit sourced from renowned California winegrowing regions like Napa, Monterey, Santa Barbara and Sonoma, they ensure that the quality and diversity are both uncompromising. While the exact blend is kept under wraps, we can assure you that Conundrum white is always amazingly versatile and perfect for food pairing.
Ratings: 90 Points by Wilfred Wong
Acclaim: “Aromatic and striking, the 2015 Conundrum White Wine continues to add to its loyal following. By exhibiting fragrant flowers and ripe core fruits, this wine stays fine and consistent to its history. Its subtle sweetness in the finish pairs it well with Chinese chicken salad garnished with cilantro, sesame oil, and an accent of red chilies.” – Wilfred Wong
Tasting Notes: The only white in the Caymus stable, Conundrum is a multifaceted wine with an array of ripe, concentrated flavors – pear, honey, fig, vanilla, peach, and nectarine, finishing with lots of character and a dash of spice. The “puzzle” of Conundrum lies partly in guessing the percentages of those grape varieties used, because its exact composition is never revealed. A complex wine that lives up to its name, This slightly sweet wine pairs with asian cuisine and light, spicy food.
Winemakers’ Notes: Light in color — calling to mind shades of straw or sun-kissed blond hair — this wine opens with the evocative scents of apricot, pineapple, honeysuckle, and coconut. A slight flintiness of wet stone adds a layer of interest, due to a small portion of the wine being fermented in concrete tanks. Entry on the palate is creamy and soft, with lush flavors of Asian pear, Hawaiian fruit, apricot and brown spice. The finish brings just a wisp of acid to balance the richness of the fruit, with the distinct characteristics of each varietal in this blend creating a lasting harmonious impression.
Blend: Sauvignon Blanc, Muscat Canelli, Vioginier, Chardonnay, Semillon
WineBaskets.com is delighted to offer Conundrum White by Caymus in our Coastal Cove Wine Case.
Welcome to Wine Wednesday! What better way to get over the hump of a busy work week than to explore and learn about a great wine, and celebrate with a glass (or two)? From wines quaffable on a casual Saturday evening to rare and unique finds to be cellared and enjoyed on the most special of occasions, each week we’ll highlight a wine available in our gifts and speak to the history of the vintners behind the bottle, along with the delicious flavors to be had inside of it.
This Week’s #WineWednesday – Simi Sonoma County Chardonnay
Score: 90 Points
Acclaim: This offers great value for the quality, a mix of salty brine, stone and caramel apple that delves into more voluptuous dabs of pineapple. Light-bodied and food-friendly, it shows focused acidity and restrained oak.
Tasting Notes: Each of Sonoma County’s most prestigious regions for growing Chardonnay offers a remarkably distinct fruit profile. We blended grapes almost evenly from all four of these regions to make our 2015 Sonoma County Chardonnay, with 24% coming from the Russian River Valley, 26% coming from Carneros, 27% coming from Alexander Valley, and 23% coming from Sonoma Coast. Grapes from the Sangiacomo vineyard in Carneros—Sonoma County’s coolest growing region—added brilliant acidity and bright, pure, mouthwatering flavors of green apple, tangerine, and lemon. Fruit from the Goldfields and Stiling vineyards of the Russian River Valley brought richness, elegance, and fruit flavors leaning toward the tropical, such as peach, apricot, and other stone fruits. In the Alexander Valley, where the days are warmer, Chardonnay from Reedy, Clark, and Hoot Owl Creek vineyards contributed full, ripe orchard fruit flavors of Red Delicious apples and pear followed by a generous mouthfeel.
Blend: 100% Chardonnay
Food Pairing: Enjoy this food-friendly Chardonnay with smoked salmon with lemon aioli and toasted brioche; tiger prawns sautéed with garlic, lemon, and parsley; or a caprese salad with ripe peach slices, basil, and fresh mozzarella.
Have you had a chance to taste Simi Sonoma County Chardonnay? If not, pick it up in our Wine Tasting Triplet where it comes with a complete set of stainless wine tools and two more companion wines.
Here at WineBaskets.com, our hearts go out to all those affected by the wildfires in Napa County, Sonoma County and beyond. Donate to the North Bay Fire Relief Fund here.