Honey, I Froze the Wine!
We’ve all been there – had the bright idea of popping a bottle of white into the freezer just before guests arrive and forgetting about it…
You suddenly remember it’s there and dash to the freezer to find not a ship in a bottle, but an iceberg. What’s worse is that some may have leaked out of the screw cap as it expanded… The shame.
It'll be OK…
Well, it’ll thaw and still have alcohol in, if that’s what you mean. However, the good tastes will be dulled and overshadowed by new bitter notes that have a stale muddiness to them. Yum. Shoulda kept it in the fridge, right?
Why is it so bad?
For a start, if your wine has expanded through the seal or popped the cork, it’ll start to oxidise for as long as you forget about it, which could even be overnight.
It’s even worse if it’s sparkling as the wire cap will prove too strong for the freezing liquid, but the bottle won’t…
If you decide to try a wine slushie it’ll just taste very cold, with hardly any flavors to it at all. Low temperatures cut out the good flavors as well as the alcohol flavors – it’s just meh.
If it’s in the freezer for a while, then freezer burn and oxidation will get to it, making it just not worth the effort to drink as it won’t be enjoyable. It’ll be bland and bitter all at once, which sounds impossible, but you’ll find it’s not.
Some wines like the cold
Some wines are actually exposed to cold conditions by the winemakers. It’s called cold stabilization and it removes potassium bitartrate, which can cause hard crystals in the bottle and make the wine unstable.
In California, cold-stabilization is done at 28F for ten days, and this is usually performed with lower-price wines rather than high-end varieties. This is because very cold stabilization processing takes away a lot of the aromas and flavors, which is defeating the point somewhat.