It’s a hot summer Friday. You just finished work for the week. And all you want to do is kick back on your porch with a cool glass of Chablis. But alas, you didn’t think to put the wine in the fridge this morning.
Or your rosé-loving friend texts you she’s in the area and wants to pop by. Cool, cool, cool. Oh wait, the Tavel you picked up earlier this week that you’re dying for her to try is still sitting on the counter.
Yes, you could put it in the freezer and wait an hour. But if you’re like me you’re thinking, I ain’t got time for that!
(BTW, if you do put it in the freezer, DO NOT forget that it’s in there. You’ll end up with, at best, a wine popsicle and, at worst, a slushy mess all over your frozen peas. Trust me, I know.)
Fear not, my friends! It can still be wine-o-clock with this trick for chilling your wine faster than you can say Nebuchadnezzar (that’s a wine bottle the size of 20 regular ones, in case you’re wondering).
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Before I get into the deets, let’s talk about what temperature your wines should be.
Wine Serving Temperatures
Now, we’re not talking white zin here. This is your noble rot or late harvest wines like Sauternes and Eiswein (or icewine). You want these babies nice and frosty at 43-45° F (6-8° C).
If you’re popping the bubbly (Champagne, Cava, Prosecco) for a special occasion, brunch mimosas, or a random Tuesday, make sure it’s a well-chilled 43-50° F (6-10° C). And keep it in the fridge between glasses.
Many people over-chill whites, but this masks the aromas and flavors. If the wine doesn’t have any flavor, it’s probably too cold (which might be a good thing if it’s a cheapo bottle). For lighter whites — like Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio — chill it to slightly warmer than fridge temperature at 45-50° F (7-10° C).
Full-Bodied and/or Oaked Whites
For your heavier whites like Chardonnay and Viognier, these can be sipped even a little warmer. Go for a light chill at 50-55° F (10-13° C).
I have to admit I used to tease my mom for drinking her red wine straight out of the fridge. But she was on to something because yes, you should chill red wines! Especially light ones like Beaujolais and Pinot Noir. Don’t go too cold, though, or they’ll taste thin and harsh (like way harsh, Tai). Aim for around 55° F (13° C).
These bold buddies, like Cabernet, Merlot, or Port, should be imbibed at room temperature. No, this does not mean your house temperature (unless you’re my husband, who likes our thermostat at arctic chill level). Go for 59-64° F (15-18° C).
If you’re thinking, woah, woah, woah…that was a lot of info, well here’s a handy-dandy wine serving temperature chart to keep in your back pocket.
And since I’m not one to be sticking a thermometer in my wine on the reg, I just remember these 3 things:
- Serve sweet and sparkling wines right out of the fridge.
- Take your whites out a half hour before drinking them.
- Put your reds in the fridge a half hour before drinking them.
Okay, let’s get down to business.
Here’s How to Chill Wine Fast
This is the best way I’ve found to get your wine cool quickly.
Get a bucket. Ideally an ice bucket like this.
But you can be creative if you don’t have one — a mixing bowl, a stock pot, a large flower planter…the possibilities are endless!
Fill the ice bucket (or bucket-like thing) three-quarters of the way full of equal parts ice and water.
This works better than just ice because air acts as an insulator. With just ice, the bottle won’t really chill much until some of the ice has melted.
Make sure the bottle is fully surrounded by ice water.
Now this part is the secret trick. Ready for it? Add salt.
Why does this work? Salt lowers the freezing point of water. This means that salt water can get a lot colder than regular water. Colder water = a frosty glass in your hand sooner.
How much salt should you add? About 1-2 cups (or more if you went with a big bucket).
And if you really want to speed up the chilling, you can stir the ice water every couple of minutes. This helps circulate the warmer water around the bottle with the cooler water elsewhere in the bucket.
Now sit back and relax, because this puppy’s going to be icy cold in about 10 minutes.
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Bonus Tip From Bella: The ice bucket doubles as a refreshing drink for kitties (but only if you don’t put salt in it).
What’s your favorite chilled bevy to drink?