You’re looking forward to enjoying a glass of wine but realise it’s not been chilled. Is the freezer your best option? And what happens when it goes wrong?
Wine in the freezer
Matt Walls, DWWA judge, recommends putting your wine in the freezer for 22 minutes for lightly chilled, and 28 minutes for fully chilled.
Xavier Rousset MS, sommelier and restaurateur, shared his top tip for speeding it up further.
The most important thing is not to forget about it.
Set a timer on your phone or watch so you don’t leave the bottle in there.
When wine is forgotten in the freezer
Members of the Decanter team have all had their own disasters after putting wine in a freezer.
‘My birthday Laurent-Perrier rosé shattered into a million pieces and turned the freezer pink,’ said Laura Seal, Decanter’s editorial assistant.
‘I had to defrost it to get all the glass out, and lots of mysterious food surfaced from housemates long gone.’
‘I put a bottle of Champagne, that was an engagement present, in the freezer hoping to drink it that evening with a barbecue,’ said James Button, Decanter’s digital wine sub editor.
‘Alas, opened the freezer door about three hours later to discover the neck had parted ways with the body.’
And it’s not just sparkling wines that are the problem – although they are more risky, because of the carbon dioxide.
‘Mine was a bottle of Freddie Emile, Trimbach 1997,’ said Harry Fawkes, Decanter’s digital publisher.
‘I was a few bottles in at a dinner party and decided I wanted that. I got a Riesling and glass ice lolly instead.’
Other ways of chilling wine
Freezers have the advantage of speed, but if you’re not in such a hurry, there other ways to chill your wine:
- An ice bath or bucket. Fill with ice cubes and cold water and make sure the bottle is submerged. Rousset recommends adding some salt to the water too.
- Christelle Guibert, Decanter tastings director, recommends the Corkcicle wine chiller, which you keep in your freezer, then slot into your wine bottle when you’re ready and it cools the wine as it pours.
- Remember, ice sleeves are great for keeping a wine cool that’s already been chilled – but are not as good for trying to cool the whole bottle.
- Keep some grapes frozen in your freezer, and pop these in your glass, says Peter Richards MW. They’ll work like ice cubes, but without diluting the wine.
- For big spenders, the Kaelo iceless ice bucket can be built into your kitchen
The “Teabag Method”
Wine blogger Drew Lambert has invented a new method that he’s coined “the teabag method” which chills your wine down in 3 minutes – but be careful to use a clean bag!
- Fill your wine glass a little less than half full of ice so you only use the right amount of cubes
- Pour the ice cubes into a small, clean plastic bag
- Fill your wine glass to the very top with room temperature wine
- Leave it for 3 minutes
- Remove the bag, clean it and re-use it for another time
- Your wine will now be chilled!
More wine advice:
What to do if your wine isn’t chilled enough...
It can get too cold...
Reds don't always need to be served at room temperature - enjoy one of these wines this summer...
These are the styles to go for...
What's the quickest way to cool a bottle of wine?
Can wine get so cold that it actually damage the wine? Tony Aspler answers that question for Decanter