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Dear Dr. Vinny,

Do you have to chill white wine?

Michelle Y., New Haven, Conn.

Dear Michelle,

You don’t have to chill white wine, but there’s a reason why it’s typically served cold, just like how most beer is typically served chilled too. Personal preference should be your guide, of course. But when wine is served on the warmer side, the alcohol can stick out and tannins become more prominent. If wine is served too cold, on the other hand, the flavors and aromatics can be muted, but the acidity is amplified.

So what’s the Goldilocks temperature for wines? I think a place to start is anywhere from 40° to 50° F for white wines, which is a bit warmer than most refrigerators. I like reds around 60° to 65° F, which is cooler than most room temperatures. If you pull your white wine straight out of the fridge, you might not find it very expressive. If you serve your reds at room temperature on a hot day, you might only be able to taste and feel the alcoholic burn.

—Dr. Vinny

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