Why are white wines served chilled?

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Dear Dr. Vinny,

Why are white wines served chilled?

—Manoj, Oman

Dear Manoj,

Everyone’s personal preference should be their primary guide, but different styles of beverages will taste better to people at different temperatures. Serving wine on the warmer side, closer to room temperature, amplifies our perception of acidity and alcohol. Of course, cold temperatures can also suppress and mute flavors and aromatics too.

For a full guide to wine-serving temperatures, I suggest checking out Wine Spectator's "Tips on the Perfect Serving Temperature." In short, light, crisp whites and sparkling wines are best served at 40° to 50° F, full-bodied whites and lighter reds at 50° to 60° F, and full-bodied reds at 60° to 65° F. Keep in mind that most refrigerators are around 35° F, which means that if you’re storing your white wines in there, you might want to give them a few minutes to warm up and become a bit more expressive.

—Dr. Vinny

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