It’s been a tough day at the office.
You sit there staring at the clock, just willing the minutes and hours to pass by. Finally, the clock strikes five and you’re out of there. On the long ride home, all you can think about is that first glass of Italian white wine. You long for the refreshing pick-me-up that it will provide you and your mouth waters at the thought.
You make it to your front door and almost have a mad dash to the kitchen. Out comes the bottle, pop goes the cork, and you pour that first refreshing glass.
Only it’s not as refreshing as you’d hoped it would be.
Unfortunately, the wine is almost lukewarm and you can’t help but feel disappointed. You grab a couple of ice cubes from the freezer and pop them into the glass. But you know that isn’t the best solution because the ice changes the taste of the wine in exchange for cooling it down.
If only you’d chilled it property before that first glass.
Chilling wine comes with a few unexpected challenges that you may not take into account, particularly when it comes to Italian white wine. Leaving the bottle out on the side isn’t enough. If the room becomes warm, the bottle follows suit. And you don’t want to have to constantly add ice to your glass just to keep the wine cool.
So, what can you do instead?
Of course, popping it in the fridge before you go out is the obvious solution. But what if you forget to do that? What can you do to cool down that bottle quickly so you can enjoy your wine?
Here are a few useful techniques.
Technique #1 – The Ice Water and Salt Method
Grab a bucket and fill it with freezing cold water. If you can get this straight from your fridge then that’s ideal. If not, run the cold tap until it’s as cold as it can get before you fill the bucket.
Once you have your water, add a whole bunch of ice cubes to bring the temperature down even more.
When you’ve done that, add a few tablespoons of salt to the mix.
The salt helps to drop the temperature of the ice bath you’ve just created. After all, you don’t want your wine to freeze up in the bucket. But at the same time, cold water doesn’t do enough to chill the wine properly.
Give the bottle about 15 minutes in the bucket and then pull it out. You should find that it’s much cooler and the wine inside is completely untouched.
Some day that spinning the bottle reduces the time even more. If you’re willing to stand over the bucket for about 3 minutes spinning, you could end up with a chilled bottle of wine much faster.
Technique #2 – Try the Freezer
This is a method that requires you to be on the ball as you can’t leave the wine in the freezer for long. At most, it should stay in there for 30 minutes, else you’ll chill it beyond where it needs to be.
Now, there’s a trick to chilling wine using the freezer…
Make sure it’s horizontal.
If you stand the bottle up, less of its surface area comes into contact with the cold shelf and walls of the fridge. As a result, it takes even longer for the bottle to cool down. But if you store it horizontally, you get a faster cooling effect. Couple that with the fact that storing wine bottles is good practice anyway and you have a useful technique.
Just don’t forget about the bottle else you’ll end up with a block of ice wine that you can’t even drink!
Technique #3 – The Frozen Grape Method
This one takes a bit of foresight on your part but it’s more effective than dropping ice cubes into a glass. Freezing grapes leaves you with what are essentially fruity ice cubes. But instead of releasing water, the grape will release its juices as it unfreezes in the wine.
This means that you don’t end up with watered-down wine.
However, you might end up with wine that tastes different.
If you’re going to use this method, the ideal way is to find the same grapes as those used in the wine. If that’s not possible, the next best option is to find grapes that match the wine’s flavour profile. Failure to do that could lead to the grape’s completely changing the wine’s complexion.
So in summary, this method works for single glasses of wine. However, there’s so much preparation required that it may not be worth your time.
Technique #4 – The Chilled Spout
As is so often the case in the Italian wine industry, some enterprising folks have come up with an accessory that focuses on this specific problem.
It’s called a chilled wine spout.
The idea with this little tool is that you keep it in the fridge until you’re ready to drink a bottle of wine. You uncork the bottle (or unscrew the top) and replace it with the spout. The wine then runs through the spout as you pour, getting chilled by the spout in the process.
These accessories do add a slight chill to the wine. However, they’re not going to be enough if the wine’s relatively warm. As such, they’re best used for adding a blast of coolness to a wine that’s been sitting outside of the fridge for a few minutes.
When speed is of the essence, these techniques may be your best options when cooling your Italian wine.
Of course, it’s always better to avoid the need for these ideas in the first place. The very best way to cool Italian wine is to keep it in a specially designed wine refrigerator.
But if you’re stuck in a bind, these techniques offer quick and effective solutions. Just watch out for some of the drawbacks that a few of them have and keep an eye on the time spent cooling.