Wine – The 15-minute Rule

What is the 15 minute rule for wine? Some wine buffs say that to avoid serving white wine too cold, it should be taken out of the refrigerator 15 minutes before drinking to let it warm up a few degrees. Conversely, a bottle of red wine at room temperature should be put in the refrigerator fifteen minutes before serving to cool it down a little.

I haven’t tested it, but I wonder how much the temperature in a typical bottle of wine will fall if it starts at, say, 72 degrees and sits in the refrigerator for a mere 15 minutes. That sounds a bit short to me.

Here in the US, it’s pretty common to serve white wine heavily chilled – perhaps in the 40s (Farenheit), while red wine may be taken from the kitchen shelf with a temperature in the 70s. In fact, the ideal wine serving temperatures for white and red wine aren’t all that far apart. Whites are best served in the mid to upper 50s (say, 54 – 58 degrees F), while red wines are best drunk in the low to mid 60s (say, 62 to 64 degrees). The heavier the red wine, the warmer the temperature it will tolerate. Light bodied reds can be served as cool as 56 degrees.

If you hope to get that bottle of red to drop ten or fifteen degrees, you might need more than 15 minutes in the fridge. A better idea is to store the wine in a cool place so that it starts out quite close to the expected serving temperature.

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