There are no hard-and-fast rules, just guidelines -- and personal preference is important, too. Some people enjoy ice water, while others prefer room-temperature water. Americans like beer ice-cold, while the British prefer it at cool room temperature. Custom, common sense and personal taste all play a role.
Generally, white wines, rosï¿½s and sparkling wines taste best chilled -- 45 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit -- but not ice-cold. An hour or two in the refrigerator is plenty of time to chill a bottle. If a bottle has been refrigerated for some time, consider taking it out of the refrigerator 15 or 20 minutes before serving. Serving some wines ice-cold can deaden their flavors.
Most red wines taste best at cool room temperature, about 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit. The key phrase is cool room temperature. Most consumers (and restaurants) store and serve red wines at actual room temperature, 70 to 75 degrees, which can make some red wines taste heavy or out-of-balance. Try popping a bottle of red into the refrigerator for 20 minutes or so before serving, and see if you find the wine more refreshing and better balanced.
If you're dining out and you feel the wine you ordered is too cold or too warm, don't hesitate to ask the server to adjust it. If the white wine is too cold, take it out of the ice bucket and put it on the table. If the red is too warm, ask for it to be placed in an ice bucket for several minutes.
Finally, weather is a factor, too. On a sweltering day, all wines, reds and whites, should be served a bit cooler than usual.
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