Red wine can be intimidating. There are different varietals to be stored at different temperatures with different foods. Let’s simplify the rules, and you’ll be a hit the next time you throw a dinner party.
Light Reds should be served cool at around 54 degrees. Light reds include Pinot Noir, Counoise, and Zweigelt. They are best paired with pork, heavier chicken dishes, and anything with a mushroom heavy flavor.
Medium Reds should be served at “cellar temperature”, around 62 degrees. Medium Reds include Tempranillo, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Zinfandel. Medium reds are great for Spanish and Italian fare, pairing with duck, lamb, sausages, and hearty pork dishes.
Bold reds should also be served at cellar temperature. They include Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Malbec. They are best served with beef, lamb, venison, deep sausages, and barbecued or smoked meats.
Dessert wines are a whole different animal. Wines like Port, Tawny Port, and Sherry should be served at a cool room temperature, around 68 degrees. They are paired with cakes, pie, soft cheeses, and fruit.