Wine experts say Americans serve white wines too cold and red wines too hot.
Okay, so what is the right temperature? With a small investment in a wine thermometer and some experimenting, you can develop a system for serving at optimum temperature for your palate.
• Deep red wines (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Zinfandel, Chianti, blends of these): 59-66 F.
• Lighter red wines (Pinot Noir, Beaujolais, Rhône wines): 55 F.
• Blush, rosé, and dry whites: 46-57 F.
• Sparkling wines and Champagne: 43-47 F.
Your refrigerator probably cools things to 40 F or less, so you can use it to help get your wines ready to drink.
Put red wines in the refrigerator 30 minutes or longer before drinking to pull down the temperature to your ideal.
Take blush, rosé, and whites out of the refrigerator before consuming, allowing room temperature to warm the wine. Sparkling wines and Champagne are almost at ideal temperatures when they come out of a 40 F refrigerator; by the time the bottle is opened and wine poured, they probably will be right.
If you own a wine cooler/refrigerator, you may need to let deep reds warm a bit before pouring and put sparkling wines and Champagne in the family fridge for a final chill.
Experiment to find what tastes best. No matter what experts say, what you enjoy is what is right for you.
• Duck Pond Pinot Gris. Oregon Willamette Valley white; crisp, fruity, great with lighter food. $12
• Brennan Viognier. Award-winning, crisp, clean, fruit-forward Texas white. $16
• Villa Antinori Toscana. Medium-body Super Tuscan, Sangiovese-Cab with touch of Syrah and Merlot. $20