Should Chardonnay Be Chilled? How to Store It Properly

white wine chilling

Ah, Chardonnay, the golden star of the wine world! With a chameleon-like ability to adapt to different climates and winemaking styles, Chardonnay produces wines that range from crisp and unoaked to rich and buttery, satisfying a spectrum of preferences.

Chardonnay is an incredible grape variety and for it to taste its best, you need to make sure you’re not serving it too warm or too cold.

Should Chardonnay Be Chilled?

Yes, you should chill Chardonnay. Keeping white wines, rosé, and sparkling wine chilled can enhance their broad flavor profiles and bring out their aromas and refreshing acidity.(1)

  • The ideal temperature for unoaked Chardonnay is between 50-55 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Full-bodied white wines like oaked Chardonnay are best enjoyed chilled to 54-57 degrees Fahrenheit.

When serving Chardonnay, paying attention to the optimal temperature is very important. Ensuring that the wine is served at its ideal temperature enhances the overall tasting experience.

Chardonnay served cold

Related: Should Sauvignon Blanc Be Chilled? Learn The Reasons Why!

How To Chill Chardonnay? 

Before hosting a dinner party, I always make sure to chill wine, particularly a delightful Chardonnay, to ensure my guests enjoy a perfectly cooled glass.

Using a wine refrigerator is the ideal method to chill Chardonnay. To properly store Chardonnay for serving purposes, follow these steps:

  1. Set the temperature: Adjust the temperature of your wine cooler to around 45°F (7°C) to 50°F (10°C). This temperature range is ideal for chilling Chardonnay and preserving its flavors.

  2. Allow sufficient chilling time: Depending on the initial temperature of the Chardonnay, it typically takes about 2-4 hours in the refrigerator to reach the desired serving temperature. This time frame allows the wine to cool evenly.

  3. Remove and let it warm slightly: About 5-10 minutes before serving, take the Chardonnay bottle out of the wine cooler. Allowing the wine to warm slightly enhances its aromas and flavors. However, if the wine fridge is set to a lower temperature, you may need to let it sit out for a longer duration.

And if you don’t have a wine cooler or wine cellar, you can put the bottle in an ice bucket that’s large enough to fit the wine bottle and submerge it upright, adding salt to lower the freezing level.

ideal wine temperature for Chardonnay

How To Store Chardonnay

If stored properly, Chardonnay can develop some complex flavors over time and age quite nicely

  • Keep it away from light and store it in a cool place

While direct light can cause fluctuations in temperature, UV rays from the sun can also degrade the quality of the wine, breaking it down. If kept in contact with light, Chardonnay can lose its pleasant flavor and aroma and can even take on the taste of boiled cabbage. 

When storing white wine like Chardonnay, always make sure to keep it in a cool place at a temperature between 55-60 degrees Fahrenheit.

Avoid storing the bottle in a place where temperatures easily fluctuate, such as near heat systems and hot windows. 

  • Limit movement

When Chardonnay is handled a lot, the sediments inside get disturbed which alters the flavor of the wine. Bottles that are kept in the living room and dining room are often picked up to be admired or have the label read. It seems harmless but when Chardonnay is moved around too much, the molecular structure of the wine changes and both the flavor and the quality degrade. 

  • Lay the bottle on its side

Wine cellars typically store bottles on their side to preserve space, however, this is something that helps preserve the wine and is something you should be doing too.

In general, wine should be lied on its side to keep the cork of the bottle moist, which prevents oxidation, and so that you can see if any sediment is forming in the bottle before decanting the wine.

How to Store an Opened Bottle of Chardonnay

Opened bottles of Chardonnay can typically last up to 3–5 days if stored properly. To key to storing it lies in the cork, and maintaining a tight seal on the bottle. 

chardonnay and dessert wines in a fridge

When you’re ready to store your Chardonnay bottle, make sure to cork the bottle as tight as possible. Hold the bottle firmly, tilt the cork in so that one side goes in before the other, and twist and press down, pushing down on the end of the cork using your hand. 

You can also use a rubber wine stopper as they’re designed to maintain a tight seal on the wine or a vacuum pump which pulls all the air out of the bottle before sealing. Both these methods ensure that the wine’s shelf life will be extended. 

Final Advice 

I like to chill wine, especially when I’m serving a creamy and buttery Chardonnay on a hot summer evening to enhance its refreshing qualities. Now that you know how to serve and how to store Chardonnay, you should be a pro at it!

The serving temperature for Chardonnay not only influences its taste but also allows you to appreciate the craftsmanship of the winemaking process.

So, whether it’s a casual gathering or a special occasion, presenting Chardonnay at its ideal serving temperature ensures that each glass is a true delight, inviting you to savor the complexities of this classic white wine.

Stan Kushkin

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