Best Taste Scenario: Chilling Wine Fast

Naomi Ross March 1, 2023

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By Naomi Ross

When the door bell rings and the first guests arrive, that’s a little late in the game to remember to chill the wine.  But we’ve all been there…followed by a mad dash to the freezer in the hopes it will magically defy the bounds of science!

Does chilling wine really matter that much and why should we care?

Why yes, the temperature actually does impact the taste and mouthfeel of wine. For whites, rosés, and sparkling wines, chilling to an ideal temperature range of 45-50 degrees Fahrenheit will bring out the fruit flavors and aromas; for full-bodied dry whites like Chardonnay, up to 60 degrees Fahrenheit to exhibit their best buttery textures and temper acidity. Even for reds, despite common belief to serve at “room temperature” which can fluctuate greatly depending on climate, maintaining a warmer temperature of 60-65 degrees Fahrenheit for full-bodied reds (with high tannin levels) will deliver a more well-balanced drink.

That said, what are the fastest methods for getting wine chilled FAST!?

Without buying any fancy cooling gadgets, I tried the following 3 hacks for quick-chilling results:

The Salt-Walter Bucket

Did you know that salt lowers the freezing point of water? This means that the water can actually get colder than 32 degrees Fahrenheit without freezing. Using a large ice or wine bucket (or a container that can fit a whole wine bottle), fill with water, a few cups of salt and lots of ice cubes. Submerge wine bottle in salted water (you can agitate every few minutes to chill even faster). Wine temp chilled to 45 degrees Fahrenheit in 15 minutes!

Decant to Wine Glasses

If you have the fridge space, simply open wine and pour into wine glasses. Cover with plastic wrap (to seal in developing aromas and prevent oxidation) and refrigerate. Logically, since the wine glass is thinner and smaller than the bottle, the wine will chill in it faster. Wine temp came down to 50 degrees Fahrenheit after 30 minutes (compare to chilling the whole bottle in fridge – generally takes 90 minutes!).

Zip-top Bag

Pour an entire bottle of wine into a gallon-sized zip-top bag and seal well. Lay flat on a sheet pan and place in the freezer. Wine temp dropped to 48 degrees Fahrenheit after 15 minutes! The only real requirement is a funnel to transfer wine back to a decanter or into the original bottle for serving.

No matter what method you use, don’t stress. Wine is meant to elevate and help you enjoy a gathering or celebration…just relax and chill out!

Naomi Ross is a cooking instructor and food writer based in Woodmere, NY. She teaches classes throughout the country and writes articles connecting good cooking and Jewish inspiration. Her first cookbook, The Giving Table, was released this year. Follow her at @naomirosscooks on Instagram or visit her website: www.naomirosscooks.com.