Even full-bodied wine can benefit from delicate treatment when it comes to the temperatures in which it's stored. Because the perfect storage temperature varies depending on the kind of wine, many wine refrigerators come with multi-temperature zones so you can keep each bottle chilled just right. Whether you're keeping your wine in your wine refrigerator for long-term storage, or simply need to chill a bottle for tomorrow's dinner party, getting educated on wine refrigerator settings can help you enjoy your wine's best flavors and textures.
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If you're keeping that bottle of expensive Chardonnay for several months, or even years, so that it can age to perfection, set your wine refrigerator's temperature settings to 55 degrees Fahrenheit. In fact, this temperature works well for all white and red wines that you plan to store for extended periods of time. If you're ready to enjoy one of these bottles of wine, simply adjust your fridge's temperature up or down to the proper serving temperature.
Light White Wine
Those light and playful white wines that you enjoy with light meals, such as poached fish, benefit well from being kept at a chilly 34 degrees F. This also works great for sparkling wines and light dessert wines, as the colder temperature helps to bring out -- and simultaneously preserve -- their fruit undercurrents.
Heavy White Wine
For white wines that are more heavy-bodied in texture and flavor, such as a Chardonnay that you might enjoy with chicken, raise the temperature a little higher than what you use for a light white or a sparkling wine. There's no specific guideline, so long as you don't pass 50 degrees F.
Heavy Red Wines
If you're storing red wine in preparation for an upcoming meal or party, set your wine refrigerator to a temperature of 65 degrees F. This is a little cooler than room temperature for most locales. Most heavier red wines, such as Merlot and Shiraz wine, loves this temperature.
Light Red Wine
Light red wines, such as a Pinot Noir, don't need to be stored at as warm a level as heavy red wines. Aim for just about 55 degrees F. Because this is the same temperature needed for long-term storage, you can enjoy your stored light reds without needing to adjust your wine fridge's settings.