The big chill

Ice bucket (Photo: Bob Campbell MW)

I’m becoming a bit of an expert at chilling wine in a hurry. Muggy Auckland evenings demand a well-chilled white wine but I almost routinely don’t think about putting a bottle in the fridge until I am ready for a glass.

I’ve got one of those popular Fisher & Paykel two-door fridges with an ice-maker inside. I find the best way to chill wine in a hurry is to mix a slurry of ice and chilled water from the fridge and plunge the bottle into it. Fifteen minutes is usually enough. The fridge has a bottle-chill timer on it, so an alternative measure is to plunge the bottle into the ice-maker receptacle, which takes a little longer, perhaps 20-25 minutes.

Last night I tried the well-known technique of wrapping a wet face-cloth around the bottle and dropping it into the freezer. I wet the cloth with chilled water from the fridge, which might have helped. In 15-20 minutes the bottle was cold enough to enjoy, although we preferred it even colder.

If I am going out to a BYO restaurant I slip a Rapid Ice sleeve around the warm bottle. I keep a couple in the freezer. They work well, although I often ask the waiter for an ice bucket to drop the temperature a couple of extra degrees. If you over-chill a bottle it’s a simple matter to pour a glass and give it a few seconds in the microwave.

3 thoughts on “The big chill”

  1. Gillman Ken says:

    Using an ‘insulated’ cooler, rather than yours illustrated above, will work better too, and result in less condensation dripping onto table, or where-ever. But it needs be be voluminous enough to hold the bott. and at least 0.75 L of saline, a full L is even better, esp. for thicker heavier botts.
    I have not yet found one large enough for a magnum, if anyone …

  2. Bob Campbell MW
    Bob Campbell MW says:

    Many thanks. I plan to try it.

  3. Gillman Ken says:

    May I suggest an improvement. Keep a litre bott. of v salty water in freezer. Approx 0.75L of that will cool a bott. to well chilled in 3-5 mins, depending on thermal capacity of bott. & starting temp.

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