Ice in wine: the ultimate taboo?
The on-going debate of ice in wine has dominated the summer drinks columns. Is it ever acceptable? db investigates.
Trend or taboo, it is the thirst-quenching summer beverage that breaks all furtive wine rules. There is undeniably little better reprieve from the searing summer sun than an ice-cold glass of wine, even when supplementing with intermittent dips in the pool. Nonetheless, wine on the rocks is a controversial topic debated every summer.
In the past few weeks we have had chef Dave Chang saying ice in wine is delicious, a bar server saying it is ‘bogan’, and Blur’s Alex James releasing his own sparkling wine while holding a glass filled with ice ‘vin piscine’.
The debate in the db offices was equally passionate.
Despite the unappealing thought of diluted wine, there are some circumstances where it has its place, it can be argued. Perhaps you’re given a glass of wine that isn’t quite to your taste; adding a few cubes of ice might just take the edge off and allow you to politely sip away in company. Or maybe you’d like to enjoy a glass without it ending in another night of blurred recollection.
Nevertheless, if you’re not trying to be polite or impede intoxication, there are multiple ways to achieve an ice-cold glass of wine without masking its character. Molly Tawse explains…
If you’ve planned ahead, with only a couple of hours in the fridge, the wine will be perfectly crisp enough to enjoy. Also remember that you can, and in the summer probably should, even put red wines in the fridge for around 20 minutes before serving to eke out all the flavours in the bottle.
If you’ve only got 20 minutes, you can put your wine in the freezer for some especially speedy cooling. But the real key here is to not forget about it, or you will end up with either an oeno-explosion or alcoholic ice lollies.
We all know about ice buckets, but not all of us do it right. You want to aim for a ratio of 2:1 of ice to water which will increase the surface area and efficiency of cooling. If you want to get a little geekier, dissolve a cup or so of salt into the bucket, causing the melting ice to chill the salted water down below freezing point. Ice buckets are the perfect option if you’d like to keep the bottle at arm’s length for the inevitable refill.
These come into their own when out for a picnic or when you’re without ease of access to the luxuries of a fridge or ice bucket and there are multiple high-tech options available.
Frozen wine cubes
A TikTok hack that could well be the next best thing to wine on the rocks; fill an ice cube tray with the same wine you intend on drinking and place it in the freezer. While the ice cubes will inevitably melt, using wine in favour of water will avoid dilution and provide concordant aromas and flavours to the glass, ensuring the wine’s character isn’t drowned out.
Luckily for us, we live in an age of innovation, and this trend is no exception. Increasingly, wine producers are creating ranges designed for a glaciated glass. A great example is Moet’s Champagne Ice Impérial, the first, and currently only, Champagne designed to be served over ice.
Whether you deem it a trend or taboo, “vin piscine” is debated every summer. But just as every wine has its place, wine on the rocks does too. A pub garden with an icy glass of Pinot Grigio might do just fine, but at a well-respected restaurant with an attentive Sommelier, you should expect to raise a few eyebrows…
A sommelier’s summer sip
A TikTok hack may also be the answer to achieve an ice-cold glass of wine this summer.
Wine on the rocks, the thirst-quenching summer beverage that breaks all furtive wine rules.
Though there is little better reprieve from the searing summer sun than a refreshing glass of wine, even when supplementing with intermittent dips in the pool, there is perhaps little worse than watered down wine.
Whether you deem it a trend or taboo, Vin Piscine is debated every summer. The summer drink, said to have originated from the sunny South of France, consists of cubes of ice swimming in a generous glass of wine (most often a crisp white or rosé).
Despite countless options to keep wine cool, and countless attempts to advise against it, many still resort to this controversial summer go-to. Fortunately, a nifty TikTok hack might just provide a suitable alternative to those partial to a glaciated glass.
@kroger Frozen wine cubes = REVOLUTIONARY. #kroger #kitchenhacks #foodhacks #winehacks #wineicecubes #icecubehack ♬ original sound – Kroger
This can also work for other summery beverages, such as cocktails.
@cocktails here’s to no more watered down cocktails #mocktail #cocktails #summercocktails #popsicle #viral ♬ original sound – ryan :O
While the ice cubes will inevitably melt, using wine in favour of water will avoid dilution and provide concordant aromas and flavours to the glass, ensuring the wine’s character isn’t drowned out.
Though frozen wine cubes may well be the next best thing to wine on ice, when wine freezes, the organic chemical compounds crystallise which can subtly alter the flavour of the wine once thawed. For this reason, this trend, as with most, should be treated with an element of caution.