ask dr. vinny

Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, or "Vinny" for short. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the technical aspects of winemaking to the fine points of etiquette. I hope you find my answers educational and even amusing. Looking for a particular answer? Check my archive and my FAQs. You can also follow me on Twitter: @AskDrVinny.


Dear Dr. Vinny,

What is the correct temperature to drink red wines? If I don't have a wine cooler, how do I know the temperature?

—John, Cleveland, Ohio

Dear John,

You can drink red wine at any temperature you wish to, and if anyone gives you any grief, tell 'em that Dr. Vinny said it was OK. However, conventional wisdom suggests that most reds be consumed at temperatures between 60 degrees and 70 degrees F (what "room temperature" used to be before central heating).

When red wines are too cold—say, directly out of a cellar (55 degree-ish) or refrigerator (35 to 40 degrees), the tannins are magnified and the wine can seem tough. When they're too warm (above 72, say), the alcohol is emphasized, and wines can taste hot and dull. I prefer to open a red wine on the cool side (sometimes I even put it in an ice bucket for 10 minutes), and let it warm to my preferred temperature.

There are also some high-tech infrared thermometers that can take a wine's temperature through the bottle.

—Dr. Vinny


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