Why The Temperature Of Wine Matters


At Creation one of the most frequently asked questions by our guests is why our red wines are served slightly chilled. The quick response is that ‘room temperature’ is not a South African concept; it is European, where room temperature is much lower.

The temperature at which a wine is served has a significant effect on its aroma, taste and texture. Firstly, temperature determines how many aromatic molecules reach our nose and can thus be smelled. The colder, the less aromatic a wine will be. At the other end, when too warm, many of the enjoyable molecules are gone before you can smell them and alcohol becomes the dominant smell.

Taste and texture notably affect the perception of tannin in wine. Hence the serving of white wines, which have much lower tannin levels than red wines, at a cooler temperature. Acidity on the other hand is more noticeable at higher temperatures. High acid whites are thus better served cooler than low acid red wines. The effect of temperature on the perceived balance of tannin, acid and consequently the perception of fruit flavours is thus pivotal in our perception of a wine’s structure.
Luckily all wine varieties are similarly affected by temperature, which makes it possible to give some general guidelines: the heavier the tannin structure of the wine and the lower its acidity, the warmer it should be served. Low tannin, higher acid wines are best served colder to maximise refreshment. The range is generally from about 8 degrees Celsius for the higher acid white wines up to about 18 degrees Celsius – which is slightly cooler than the average South African home or restaurant – for the seriously complex reds.

To maintain these ideal temperatures Smeg offers a wide range of free-standing and built-in wine coolers. Thanks to two temperature zones that can be individually adjusted, these coolers keep different bottles of wine at optimum temperature and just ready to be served! Click here to read more.