Serving Wine at the Right Temperature

I love doing experiments with wine. Something that had always intrigued me was the thought that wines had an ideal temperature at which they should be served. If you go out to restaurants and to friends homes, you'll find the same wine being served at all sorts of different temperatures, from mid-70F ("room temperature") to fridge-cold (around 35F) to anything in between. How much does the temperature actually affect the flavor of a wine? Does it really matter?

To determine this, we decided to use a good but commonly available red and white. It needed to be good enough so that a decrease in quality would show up, and inexpensive enough that it would be a wine commonly drunk by most people. We ended up with:

Simi Sonoma County Sauvignon Blanc, 2001
Robert Mondavi Coastal Cabernet Sauvignon, 2000

We bought four bottles of each so that we could try the wines side by side at different temperatures to see exactly what changed as the wine was presented at cooler and warmer temperatures. The experiment was on!

Stage 1: Choosing the Wines
Stage 2: Determining the Temperatures
Stage 3: Tasting the White Wine
Stage 4: Tasting the Red Wine
Stage 5: The Results

Wine Serving Temperature Guidelines
How Quickly Does a Wine Warm Up?
How Do You Keep a Wine at the Right Temperature?