Is it ok to add ice to wine? This controversial topic is plaguing many during this glorious hot summer. So what really is the answer? The Independent asked us, as well as some other Industry people. Here are some of the highlights of the article:
“For something that’s supposed to be enjoyable, drinking wine involves an awful lot of rules. Don’t drink red wine with fish. Make sure you hold the glass by the stem. Never fill your glass to the brim. And, even if you’re about to pass out from heat stroke, don’t even think about plonking a few ice cubes in your wine unless you want to seem horribly gauche. It’s enough to make you reach for a gin and tonic.
But, some wine experts are questioning whether sticking some ice cubes into your Sauvignon Blanc is such a crime after all.
The sticking point is, however, when a wine becomes too fine to be cooled down with ice. The ice will of course eventually melt and dilute the flavours and aromas of the drink.“Putting ice cubes in a well made, balanced wine just to cool it down is lazy,” warns Ruth Spivey, wine expert and founder of Wine Car Boot.
The climate you are in is also key when mulling over whether to ice or not to ice, argues Richard Ellison, the founder of Wanderlust Wine. He suggests there’s just no use enduring a lukewarm wine when it’s too hot to think anyway. “As a passionate wine lover who imports it for a job, even I have been known to add ice to wine in certain scenarios. Late last year in Cambodia on holiday I was served a bottle of room temperature Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand in a scorching 32 degree heat. They then brought ice. This is one time I didn’t even bother to argue with the concept.”
Wine from regions like the Rhone in France, such as the white Chateauneuf, white Cotes du Rhone, can also be a little too powerful for some and could be watered down a little to taste adds Ellison.
If a bottle needs to be chilled sharpish, but is too high quality to water down, Ellison suggests wetting a paper towel, wrapping it around the bottle and putting it in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes. This make-do freezer jacket will cool the wine quicker. And, if possible, plan a little in advance to avoid relying on faddy gadgets and needlessly fussy methods.
“Most of our lives are cluttered enough and most people don’t need more faddy gadgets, however handy,” says Ellison. “Other more complicated and elaborate methods that seem a bit silly include having brine water with bags of ice poured in. Dissolving the salt in the water lowers the freezing temperature and cools the bottle faster. It’s elaborate but it does work – you can chill wine or champagne down to perfectly cold in less than 10 minutes.”
“But I’d argue why not just add some frozen raspberries or blueberries instead? The wine is just as cold but without it being diluted,” he adds.
So, for anyone grabbing a bottle of supermarket plonk on the way home from work, which let’s be honest is most of us, Spivey’s advice is clear: “If the wine is horrible and you’re unable to change it for something better, a couple of ice cubes could well make it more palatable – the colder the wine the less you can taste.”