Updated on 6 August 2020: please always remember to drink responsibly.
There’s nothing better than sitting outdoors on a balmy summer’s evening, tilting your head backwards and letting the last of the day’s sun warm your face. Well almost nothing, of course. Picture that scene again but, this time, picture it with a glass of chilled white wine. And, when we say chilled, we mean chilled. You know, the kind of chilled that causes droplets of condensation to hang and glisten from your glass, send a delicious shiver rocketing through your body and help to sharpen all of those complex flavours on your tongue?
Yeah. That kind of chilled.
The only problem, of course, is that, here in the UK, our weather is so erratic that we never know when the sun will be shining, so we never know when to have a bottle of vino on standby in our fridge. Which means that, when an unexpected heatwave hits (like it has done this week: expect highs of 34 to 37 Celsius in parts of southeast England on Friday!), we have to run out to the local offy (whilst practicing our social distancing rules, of course), grab one from the shelf, and either a) serve it up at room temperature (bleh), b) pop an ice cube or two in our glass (nothing better than watered-down alcohol, eh?), or c) wait around patiently for the fridge to work its slow and eventual magic.
To cite the infamous Kimberly ‘Sweet Brown’ Wilkins, “Ain’t nobody got time for that”.
As reported in 2017: so how do you chill your white, rosé, or champagne when you want to drink a glass of the stuff right now?
Well, the folks at mydomaine.com have spoken to a master sommelier to find out the answer – and they’ve certainly come up trumps.
Brian McClintic – the resident wine buff at luxury Montana ranch The Resort at Paws Up – revealed that there is genuinely a way to cool your wine in a speedy three minutes or less.
As you may have suspected, it involves ice. Lots and lots of ice. But it also calls for another ingredient (which you should have lurking in the back of your kitchen cupboard somewhere).
“An ice-water bath with plenty of salt works like a charm,” explains McClintic, echoing the folks at All Recipes (who famously made an entire video about the wonders a dash of salt can have on your wine chilling process, which you can view below).
“The full bottle should be submerged.”
So, how much salt are we talking here? McClintic, anticipating our need for all the details ever, admits: “It’s hard to say how much salt – let’s just say a liberal amount. What happens is the bottle is encased in ice and therefore comes down in temperature much more quickly.”
The sommelier is, of course, referencing the fact that salt reduces the freezing point of water, which allows it to become even colder without turning into ice. “To speed up the process, give the bottle a spin when submerged.”
This information is especially important when you consider the fact that champagne and Prosecco shouldn’t actually spend lots of time in the fridge anyway. Why? Well, as winemaker Marie-Christine Osselin tells Huffington Post, it ruins the flavour.
“If you’re planning to enjoy your bottle of Champagne (or sparkling wine) within 3 to 4 days of the purchase, it is fine to store the bottle in the refrigerator,” she explained, adding that if it sits in the fridge for weeks, the cork can dry out due to no humidity.
“As corks dry out, the seal between the bottle and the cork loosen up and the Champagne will oxidise faster, changing its aromas.”
Of course, it goes without saying that it’s far better to invest in a good quality bottle of plonk for this experiment. But, if you can’t afford to splash out on every summer’s evening, then we have another quick-fix hack for you to try out.
All you have to do is pour your cheap plonk into a blender and whizz it up for about 30 seconds.
Once done, let the bubbles subside and then serve it up.
Your vino will apparently taste like a high-end vintage… for a fraction of the cost.
According to fans of the trend, popping wine in the blender helps to age it five years in 30 seconds – and that exposing young wine to so much air can quickly soften tannins, a natural substance that gives wine its dry taste.
Speaking to ABC News about the trend, Marcy Roth – the owner of Bacchus and Venus Wines in California – explained that blending wine acts as a form of hyper-decanting.
“Decanting was traditionally done to separate the settlements from the wine so you wouldn’t end up with hunks of grape skin in your glass or your teeth,” Roth said.
“It also opens up the wine and aerates it, allowing more of the flavour and aromas to come forth and to show their most finessed polish side.”
Don’t say we never treat you, vino fans.
This article was originally published in 2017.