Have you ever wondered what happens to wine if you freeze it?
Most of us never get to find out what literal ice wine ends up like, as usually by the time you remember that you popped a bottle in the freezer to chill down quickly it has shattered – alongside your hopes of enjoying that special wine.
This weekend I absentmindedly threw a bottle of wine into the freezer instead of the fridge. Four hours later after hunting around in the fridge for a while I realised my mistake.
Squeezing my eyes shut and praying, I opened the freezer door to find that my wine was about 70% ice. Luck was clearly on my side this weekend; as if I’d have left it much longer and I would definitely have had shards of frozen glass on my hands.
But how do extremes of temperature affect wine?
On the whole it’s commonly accepted amongst winemakers that heating wine above much more than 35°C is not ideal for producing quality wines. Heat is believed to dampen any fruity flavours so the wines taste muddy, hence pasteurisation is only used to preserve the cheapest examples of wine.
So what happens to your wines when they hit sub-zero temperatures?
Well, actually nothing much.
At first, I was concerned about my wine, until I remembered that most wines will undergo a process called ‘tartrate stabilization’, in which the wine is purposefully chilled down below freezing for a small amount of time.
While this is not as prolonged as what my bottle went under, the effect on my wine was very minimal. In fact it tasted exactly as I would expect.
There you go, whilst of course I wouldn’t advocate freezing your wine, if you ever have accidentally left it to chill down a little bit too long then rest assured that your wine should still be drinkable.*
*Not sure that I would be so confident with regards to frozen fizz though…