“What temperature should I drink rosé?” is the no. 1 question we’ve been fielding at wine events this summer. As a sort-of “cross-over” option between white and red and as perhaps the newest curiosity in wine, there’s no wonder there’s confusion.
The spectrum of rosé wine styles is as broad in variation as white and red wine styles can be. Rosé wines range from crisp and lively to bold and brooding – with a LOT of variation in between. That’s a fair bit to contend with and each has its own respective “ideal” serving temperature.
And wines (regardless of color) are INfrequently served at the appropriate temperature, even at restaurants. This can be due in part to infrastructure or practical reasons (e.g. cold glass-pour bottles are in/out of the cooler too frequently to maintain ideal serving temperature; and you may have noticed bottles sitting on the counter in staff-accessible locations, which are not temperature-friendly…). As a result even the so-called experts miss the mark, and you don’t get a proper taste-bud education or quality experience to reference.
Does it really matter anyway?
YES. A wine that’s served too cold is wearing a mask – none of its personality has a chance to show, let alone shine. It's frozen! You need to massage a given wine to do your taste buds a favor and otherwise honor the dogged work of the folks in the vineyards and winery who toil for your greater good.
Meanwhile, wines served too warm can burn you; the alcohol packs a punch and none of the fruit or earth nuances that make it unique (or delicious) come to bear.
At home you have the ‘luxury’ of being Goldilocks and getting it just right, even if you don’t have a temperature-controlled wine cellar. There’s a simpler way for optimal enjoyment whether you’re uncorking a white, rosé or red wine.
Here’s our rule of thumb:
Put said desired bottle of wine in the fridge – or the freezer – for 30 minutes. That’s your basic starting point for ALL styles (except Sparkling, which needs another hour) and about the time it takes to kick off your shoes after your day, flip through the mail and get dinner started. Simply grab the bottle off the rack and get it chill’n before you start your Unwinding Process.
Here’s where you go from there:
WHITES. Especially in the summer and if you’re eating outdoors, put your white wines in the freezer for that half hour, not the fridge. Then use a wine bottle chiller to keep the bottle more/less at that temperature while serving it. Fuller bodied wines like Viognier and Chardonnay will be just about spot-on in that 30 minute window, depending how warm the bottle was before you got started. Crisper, leaner wines benefit from a little extra time. Shoot for more like 40 minutes. Unsure what style is in your glass? Err on the longer side of the spectrum. Wines can warm up pretty quickly, so you’re better off starting too cold than not cold enough!
ROSÉS. To start, apply the same thinking and preparation as you would a white wine as described above. If you know it is a more bold or brooding style, ease up on the freezer chill time. If it is leaner, or more crisp, give it that extra bit of time. And from there, enjoy what makes rosé perhaps the most fun category of all – the chance to taste it on its journey! I typically start with the wine chilled to its coldest potential point and then enjoy the experience tasting it overtime, as it warms on its own. The wine’s flavors shift and evolve in turn, which is a BIG part of experiencing rosé’s special magic!
REDS. “Room Temperature” is a concept of the past, when we didn’t have central air. Then room temperature was around 55 degrees Fahrenheit, or today what we think of as ideal “cellar temperature”. Most often reds are served way too warm, regardless how bold or lighter-bodied they are. Here you want to stick your wine in the fridge for said 30 minutes, with maybe 10 minutes less for bolder styles.
For wines that fall into the “Chillable Reds” category, if you offer up 40 minutes of fridge treatment, the wine will virtually frolick in your glass! French Beaujolais and Loire Valley Cabernet Franc, Italian Nebbiolo, Barbera, Sangiovese, Sciava and Frappato, and even youthful, un-oaked Spanish Tempranillo are all chill-loving.
In a pinch for time? Give any given wine an ice bath for 10+ minutes (you do the math given the above reference points) and you are good to go!