Temperatures for white wine tastings

Just curious as to what the general practice is for temperature for white wine tastings. I’m thinking particularly of seated tastings with wines pre-poured. Is the goal to have the wines cool at the point people are actually tasting them or not?


Good question - and I’ll be curious to hear what others have to say.

To me, it really depends upon the types of whites being served. If you are serving white rhones, for instance, I would suggest closer to cellar temperature and not much cooler . . .


When you say “cool” do you mean that the alternative is the ambient temp of the room? I pretty much never want any wine at that temp.

Otherwise, as Larry said - depends on the white. They should be from slightly chilled to more chilled. I always want them chilled when I’m drinking them. As far as specific temperatures, I have never paid any attention to that. They’re just too cold, too warm or just right, whatever the specific degrees happen to be.

There is an argument for not having them chilled at all, but different elements show at different temps. Warmer, you’ll notice RS, as well as alcohol.

If I had to pick a temperature without knowing the white wines being poured, I’d say about 45F/7C. That is too cold for the better wines, but cool enough for any wine unless your aim is to hide flaws. The wine can warm and open in the glass.

P Hickner

55-60, or what is commonly considered cellar temperature, is about right for me.

I could perhaps have elaborated a little but didn’t want to lead the answers. (“Asked and answered” as lawyers say ,at least on TV).

Obviously the specifics would vary between dry and sweet wines as well as other characteristics perhaps. It is actually an upcoming Sauvignon Blanc tasting that’s prompted this, but I’m thinking about the general considerations.

Would people agree that the ideal temp for tasting is the same as for drinking, whatevervthat may be for the wines in question. Or are there any advantages, for tasting, of having the wines at room temperatur? E.g. Bouquet more apparent. FWIW my view is that ideally the temp would be the same as whatever is considered optimal for drinking, so that the basic acid / sugar balance is appropriate. But as I say looking for other opinions.

Moving from the ideal to the practical, there is the logistical issue of arranging to have pre-poured wines at a cool temperature, given that pouring would take place 20 - 40 minutes before people start tasting ( due to size of event, letting people get seated etc). One obvious approach is to over cool the wines and allow them to rise to the right temp in the glass. But that might be a bit hit and miss. It’s obviously much easier if pouring is on the fly as it were and judicious use of ice bucket or insulated bucket can keep things under control.

Really interested in others’ views on this.

It depends a lot on the wines. Even among Sauvignon Blanc, you might serve a flight of Didier Dagueneau wines at a warmer temperature than a flight of Kiwi wines.

Unless you are pouring right as people are about to taste, it’s always going to be hit and miss. I’d serve them colder and estimate how they’ll warm in the time until people taste (you could even experiment in advance - make a pour of that size into that glass at refrigerator temperature, see how long it takes the glass to warm to roughly the desired temperature).

Err on the side of too cold - the wine can always warm, but it won’t cool. It’s like soup in reverse - serve it hot, and someone can let it cool in the bowl or the spoon, but serve it too lukewarm, and it won’t get any hotter.

Very much depending on the type of white wines …
e.g. easier wines like Muscadet, fresh Sauvignons etc. should be quite cool - while white Bordeaux and Burgundies etc. shouldn´t be too cold, served almost like red wines …

One thing is VERY important: better too cool than too warm … it´s always possible too warm up a wine in the glass by putting your hands around it, but almost impossible to cool it down …

I store my whites/champagnes at home at 47 degrees.After pouring into a room temp (68-70 ) glass , the first sip is probably closer to 50/52 and it warms a few more degrees before the next pour. For a tasting of multiple wines, the temp would probably get closer to 55-60 ( depending on room temp and size of glass )which is warm enough to not mute the flavors and cool enough to show its freshness and purity while still holding the alcohol in balance. jm2c

I host groups regularly. We generally pour straight from the refrigerator (40F – way too cold), or from decanting bottles that have been out for maybe half an hour (still too cold, generally). But wines warm up to room temperature very quickly in a glass. There is a period when they drink well. Then they typically get too warm, with the acid/freshness receding.

If you’re pouring 20-40 minutes ahead of tasting, the wines are going to be much closer to the ambient temperature than to ideal cool, white wine temperature, particularly if they are relatively small, tasting-size pours (e.g., 3 oz.). That’s just too long if you want them cool. If there’s no alternative, then make sure the wines are at refrigerator temperature first. But shortening that time would help a lot.

FYI, the room temperature will make a big difference. The wines will warm up and go flabby pretty quickly if it’s 75F (not at all uncommon). If it’s 68F, they will retain more freshness.

In addition to what the others said above, I would serve them the same temp for tasting and for drinking. As mentioned, they warm up really fast anyway. You want to see how the wines would drink, and then if you’re interested, you can do more analysis at a warmer temp. But even for SB, it kind of depends - some of them are made with a lot more RS than others, some have more herbal notes, etc.

We will try taking the wines below 'fridge temp with a spell in the freezer, as well as try to minimise the time lag, but thats hard to do with out logistics.
And yes these wines run the gamut of SB profiles (and we have Bdx blend and straight Semillon for variety), so its a pretty broad target anyway.
Thanks everyone, Ive got the main answer I was after, that there is no real argument for deliberately aiming for room temp (which is what I suspected but Ive been at a number of white events over the years where the wines were fairy warm).

I like to remove whites from cellar pop cork, recork, put it in fridge for 20 minutes then start tasting and letting it warm up.

Depends on the wine, but I like Champagne around 60 degrees. Some of the bread/yeast characteristics are more noticeable in the warmer temp.

I like to remove whites from cellar pop cork, recork, put it in fridge for 20 minutes

The point being?

To get it chilled to it’s maximum temperature, while giving it some air, and following its journey as it warms up over time.

OK but it’s unlikely that it gets much air just from popping the cork. Especially if there’s so much sulfur you want to do a hard decant.