Lukewarm pinot grigio just doesn't cut it. Whether you are pairing your Italian pinot grigio with a roast chicken on a brisk evening or sipping it poolside in the heat of summer, pinot grigio should be chilled to allow all those fruity and floral characteristics to burst through with each refreshing slurp.
Chilling Your Pinot Grigio
Drinking wine at its optimal serving temperature can make a world of difference in how you perceive the aromas, flavors, acidity, and body of the wine. As with most whites, pinot grigio is best enjoyed chilled. So just how chilled? Lighter styles of white wines are better at slightly cooler temperatures than full-bodied whites. Pinot grigio, being a light white, is best between 45-49°F (7-9°C). In this temperature range, the wine's refreshing acidity will be enhanced on the palate and all those bright notes of Meyer lemon, green apple, pear, and honeysuckle will pop. If served ice cold, the flavors will be masked, and you won't get to experience the full spectrum of character in the wine.
So, how do you chill pinot grigio? If you've planned ahead, a good option is to place it in the refrigerator for about two hours before serving, pulling it 10-15 minutes prior to serving. If you want to get all fancy, you can chill the bottle immediately prior to serving in a rapid wine chiller. Alternatively, if your friends are knocking on the door and you realize that you haven't chilled the wine (everybody ever), throw it in the freezer for 25 minutes. When it comes to keeping your wine chilled while drinking it, it's best to return the bottle to the fridge or put it in an ice bucket in between pours.
Storing Pinot Grigio
Serving temperature is only half of the equation. Because wines are delicate and can break down and develop flaws under improper storage conditions, how you store pinot grigio can also have an effect on the flavors and aromas of the wine. While light whites like pinot grigio aren't meant to be stored for years like more structured reds, you can store it for several months. To properly store the wine, place it somewhere cool and dark where it won't encounter big temperature fluctuations. It's easy to throw a bottle in the refrigerator so it's at the ready, but really, the fridge is too cold for long-term storage. It's more ideal to store pinot grigio and similar light-bodied whites around 55°F (13°C).
Pouring That Perfect Glass
Learning how to serve pinot grigio at the right temperature will help you take your next gathering to the next level. While there is no need to get fussy over your wine, if you've got a nice bottle of pinot grigio (or a mediocre one), chill it. Seriously, the juicy green apple and punchy acid will be a thousand times better, leaving your palate all refreshed and wanting more.