Sunday, March 21, 2010

To freeze or not to freeze?

Early on Friday afternoon, I decided to place a bottle of 2006 Ross Estate Old Vine Grenache in the freezer. Wine popsicle anyone? Don’t look for it in your grocer's freezer anytime soon… What I am talking about is a technique used by some wine drinkers whereby they freeze left-over wine. I read about a gentleman who froze 1/3 of a bottle of Phillip Togni and thawed and thoroughly enjoyed it two years later. I figured this would be a nice experiment. In theory, freezing your left over wine will significantly lower the oxidation rate and, thus, preserving the flavor. Others who have experimented with this technique say that it works better for younger wines and wines that have been recently opened (less exposure to oxidation, I assume). Maybe this technique could be tried with a low-acidity wine. The process of freezing the wine should cause the pH to drop, which translates into an acidity increase.

This makes sense, but, as for taste, I have not had much luck with soda or beer.  They always seem watered -down after the thaw. So how about the Ross Estate Grenache? I took it out of the freezer and placed it on the back patio. After an hour I retrieved it, cracked the top, and poured a small glass. I ran some hot water over the glass to warm up the wine a bit in order to draw out additional scent and flavors. I was extremely encouraged by the nose which was a concentrated blend of cranberry, petroleum; and mineral, similar to what you would find in a dry Alsatian Riesling. Lovely start!!! On the palate the wine was drinking nicely. Nothing over the top. Good acidity, soft elegant flavors, bright mix of cranberry and raspberry, and no alcohol burn. The only issue that I noticed was that the wine took on more of a light cloudy color, a mild distraction. A successful experiment I would say. Right up there with my drinking straight out the bottle experiment which I will touch on in the future.


  1. Experimentation with this technique has yielded mixed results. The cloudiness you saw is a combination of tartaric acid and tannic acid, the solubility of which decreases significantly as temperatures drop. One would expect an over drop in acidity as the acids are now solid and no longer part of the solution, yielding a "flabby" or flat tasting wine.

  2. Good info, didn't taste flabby to me at all. Lets revisit this in a future experiment, see u friday.