The right temperature for a wine refrigerator is slightly warmer than that of a regular refrigerator. Wine refrigerators keep wine at a consistent temperature, allowing bottles to mature without spoilage. In some wine refrigerators, you can set different temperatures for red, white and rose bottles. Set your wine refrigerator thermostat to between 55 and 60 degrees for reds, 49 and 56 degrees for whites, and 49 and 51 degrees for roses.
Specific bottles of wine taste best at different temperatures; you do not always want to remove wine directly from the wine refrigerator and serve it at the table. Sometimes, you need to let it warm up a bit. That is because the colder wine is, the less sweet, less tart and less fragrant it is. In other words, too-cold temperatures can make wine difficult to taste.
Even white wine, which is traditionally served cool to accent its acidity and to provide refreshment with warm-weather foods, should not be chilled completely if you want to savor its flavors. Serve white wines at a temperature as cold as 45 to 50 degrees, or as warm as room temperature. If it is very good white wine, definitely let it warm up. The nuances and life in an expensive white bordeaux are masked by excessive cold; if you store a bottle of this type of fine white in your wine refrigerator, let it warm up for 30 minutes before serving it. In restaurants, whites are often served in a container filled with ice. Remove the wine from the ice to allow its temperature to mellow, unless you are seated outdoors in a hot setting, in which case you might appreciate the refreshing quality of the cool drink. On the other hand, if low-quality whites are served too warm, their alcohol flavor may be too forward.
Most red wines are served at room temperature, between 50 and 65 degrees, but you can serve some with a slight chill to accentuate acidity, tannins and crisper, lighter textures. Sparkling reds served cool are a suprising refreshment at a summer barbecue or with an Italian style charcuterie. Lighter reds such as a red Sancerre can be served cooler, while full-bodied varieties such as a Syrah should be closer to room temperature. You can also warm red wine drastically, adding sugar and spices like cinnamon, cloves and orange peel, to serve in mugs on a chilly evening. Fuller-bodied reds are best for mulled wine, as their rich flavors are not overwhelmed by the spices.
To cook with wine, keep it in your wine refrigerator rather than storing it at room temperature, and use it within a week. Cooking wine that is stored on a shelf spoils just as fast for cooking as it does for drinking, and will ruin any dish you prepare with it. You can move whites to your regular refrigerator for half an hour before serving them if it is a very hot day and you want the cool refreshment, or if you will be icing it to make a white sangria.