Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, but you can call me Vinny. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the fine points of etiquette to the science of winemaking. And don't worry, I'm no wine snob—you can also ask me those "dumb questions" you're too embarrased to ask your wine geek friends! I hope you find my answers educational, empowering and even amusing. And don't forget to check out my most asked questions and my full archives for all my Q&A classics.
Dear Dr. Vinny,
Do you chill Merlot?
—Sharron, Pettus, Texas
I don’t, but you’re welcome to if that’s how you like to drink your Merlot!
Red wines like Merlot should be generally be served a little cooler than room temperature, at about 60° to 65° F.
If it’s a rosé made from Merlot grapes, it will probably be served chilled, like a white wine. Many people store their whites and rosés in their food refrigerator and serve them straight from there, which can be a teensy bit too cold and can results in the wine's a flavors and aromas being muted. I think those wines show best between 40° and 50° F.
On the one hand, I think serving temperature is a deeply personal thing, and we should chill or not chill our wines to our heart’s content, and if we want to drop an ice cube or two into a glass, everyone should stand up and cheer. But the reality is that if you ask for a Merlot chilled in a restaurant, you might be met with raised eyebrows. Check out Wine Spectator's handy guide to serving temperature for more info!