WTN /Wine Advisor: Quick chill (Bonterra 06 Sauv Bl)

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WTN /Wine Advisor: Quick chill (Bonterra 06 Sauv Bl)

Postby Robin Garr » Wed Aug 15, 2007 12:30 pm

Quick chill

It's a sizzling summer day, the Fahrenheit is flirting with the 100 mark, and you've just brought home a nice bottle of white or pink wine. It's dinner time, and you need to chill this stuff <i>fast</i>.

What's a thirsty wine lover to do?

My advice, although it may shock those who regard wine with sacramental reverence, is simple: Stick the bottle in the coldest part of your freezer, or immerse it in a small bucket or other vessel filled with water and ice.

Contrary to popular belief, wine is not all that fragile, and shoving your wine into a home refrigerator freezer (or the icy embrace of a frosty bucket) won't do it any damage at all.

Even inadvertent freezing shouldn't harm the wine - some wine geeks actually advise freezing the contents of a partly consumed bottle as a more effective way to keep it in good shape than gas or vacuum treatments. Still, just to be on the safe side (and to guard against the slim possibility that a full bottle could shatter and make a mess if the contents freeze), I suggest setting a timer so you don't forget it's in there.

How long to chill? In my experience, assuming a modern home refrigerator with a separate over-under or side-by-side freezer properly set in the neighborhood of 0F (minus-18C), 30 minutes or so should be more than sufficient to get a wine down from summer room temperature to a pleasant serving temperature.

If you insist on having it crackling cold (a practice that I don't recommend for better wines, as icy temperatures will numb your taste buds and dull the wine's flavor), then an hour is plenty. There's no need to worry about rigorous precision: If you overshoot and get the wine too cold, it won't take it long to warm up, especially during sultry August.

I prefer the freezer to the ice bucket for simple convenience, and I'm not persuaded by the conventional wisdom that the ice bucket works faster. After all, it's only 32F in there, unless you add a lot of salt in the old home ice-cream-maker tradition, a procedure that confers a slight risk of salting your wine if you don't rinse the bottle thoroughly before opening. Spare the mess. Use your freezer, that's my advice.

For today, following up on Monday's report on Sauvignon Blanc, I applied 45 minutes of freezer time to a surprisingly appealing, relatively affordable <B>Bonterra 2006 Sauvignon Blanc</b> from California, a blend of Sauvignon Blanc grapes from Lake County (52%) and Mendocino County (48%). It's made, I'm told, by a process adopted from New Zealand in which the wine was fermented "anaerobically" - carefully protected from exposure to oxygen. This procedure, in concert with bottling under a sturdy modern Stelvin-type screwcap, is aimed at providing maximum freshness in the wine.

It certainly works here, producing a crisp yet medium-bodied, aromatic Sauvignon Blanc that neatly walks a tightrope between the "herbaceous" and "citric" styles, presenting a tasty balance between intriguing, delicate grassiness and appealing grapefruit and tangerine flavors.

Bonterra is a certified organic winery, and the wine is labeled "made with organically grown grapes," but it can't claim to be an organic wine under new regulations that many (including me) consider profoundly wrong-headed, as it is made with a rational application of sulfites to protect its freshness.

<table border="0" align="right" width="170"><tr><td><img src="http://www.wineloverspage.com/graphics1/bont0814.jpg" border="1" align="right"></td></tr></table>Bonterra Vineyards 2006 Lake-Mendocino County Sauvignon Blanc ($12.99)

Clear, pale straw color shows just a hint of brass. Distinct but subtle "grassy" Sauvignon Blanc aromas add citrus, too, with an edge of grapefruit and a whiff of tangerine. Attractive and complex, a very appealing aromatic blend. Good body and luscious fruit on the first taste, crisp and citric, refreshingly acidic hints of fresh-squeezed grapefruit and bitter orange. Fresh acidity and appetizing fruit may cloak just a touch of residual sweetness, but the wine finishes both fruity and dry. Certainly New World in style, but delicacy and balance and appealing freshness lift it well above the pack. (Aug. 14, 2007)

<B>FOOD MATCH:</b> Well-suited to seafood and a match for lightly spicy fare, it was excellent alongside a Cajun-style okra gumbo with andouille sausage, made in a lighter style without roux.

<B>VALUE:</B> My local retail was right on the winery's suggested $13 price, a tag that's more than fair for a Sauvignon Blanc of this quality. Excellent value even at this price, but it's widely discounted, so shop around for even better deals.

<B>WHEN TO DRINK:</B> Although the sturdy Stelvin screwcap will likely hold it well on the wine rack, this wine's freshness is its greatest asset, and it will be most enjoyable in its youth. Drink until the 2007 arrives, then move on.

<B>PRONUNCIATION:</B>
<B>Sauvignon Blanc</B> = "<I>So-veen-yoN BlahN</I>"

<B>WEB LINKS:</B>
The winery Website is generally informative, particularly in its discussion of Bonterra's organic practices and philosophy, but it appears a bit slow to update. The Sauvignon Blanc, new with the 2006 vintage, is not yet listed under "The Wines."
http://bonterra.com

<B>FIND THIS WINE ONLINE:</B>
Find sources and compare prices for Bonterra 2006 Sauvignon Blanc on Wine-Searcher.com:
[url=http://www.wine-searcher.com/find/Bonterra%2bSauvignon%2bBlanc/2006/-/USD/A?referring_site=WLP]http://www.wine-searcher.com/
find/Bonterra%2bSauvignon%2bBlanc/2006/-/USD/A?referring_site=WLP[/url]

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Re: WTN /Wine Advisor: Quick chill (Bonterra 06 Sauv Bl)

Postby Keith M » Wed Aug 15, 2007 1:20 pm

Robin Garr wrote:I prefer the freezer to the ice bucket for simple convenience, and I'm not persuaded by the conventional wisdom that the ice bucket works faster. After all, it's only 32F in there, unless you add a lot of salt in the old home ice-cream-maker tradition, a procedure that confers a slight risk of salting your wine if you don't rinse the bottle thoroughly before opening. Spare the mess. Use your freezer, that's my advice.


I won't take issue with your advice on using the freezer instead of the ice bucket, but my experience has been that chilling wine in a bucket of ice and water is significantly faster than chilling it in the freezer. Not sure exactly what my freezer temperature is, but it takes about 30 minutes in the freezer to chill properly versus 12-15 minutes in the ice bucket. As you note, the temperature in the ice bucket can't get below 32F, but I thought that the relevant variable here was the density. From my high school physics, I remember heat being characterized as fast-moving particles--to cool something down you have to slow down those particles. Denser materials (water versus air) will slow down those particles quicker--so even though the temperature in the freezer might be lower, the increased density of water gives it the edge. Can any physics folk indicate whether I am meandering down the correct or a mistaken path?

it can't claim to be an organic wine under new regulations that many (including me) consider profoundly wrong-headed, as it is made with a rational application of sulfites to protect its freshness.


How recent are these regulations, Robin? It seems like the sulfite ban in organic wine has been around for a few years, but I don't really know how long.
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Re: WTN /Wine Advisor: Quick chill (Bonterra 06 Sauv Bl)

Postby Robin Garr » Wed Aug 15, 2007 1:43 pm

Keith M wrote:my experience has been that chilling wine in a bucket of ice and water is significantly faster than chilling it in the freezer. Not sure exactly what my freezer temperature is, but it takes about 30 minutes in the freezer to chill properly versus 12-15 minutes in the ice bucket. As you note, the temperature in the ice bucket can't get below 32F, but I thought that the relevant variable here was the density.


Makes sense, Keith. My last exposure to physics was in high school, too. ;) I won't quibble with your analysis, which makes sense, but for the slight difference in time, I'm still inclined to go with the simplicity of the freezer method. Particularly since I'm rarely caught with less than a half-hour or so before dinner.

How recent are these regulations, Robin? It seems like the sulfite ban in organic wine has been around for a few years, but I don't really know how long.


Again, I'm babbling off the top of my head, but it's my impression that the regs distinguishing between wines "made from organically grown grapes" and simply defined "organic wine," the latter requiring no additional sulfiting, is of recent origin - possibly as recent as last year.

Given that sulfiting is a natural process with millennia of historic tradition and that the opposition to it is largely neo-Prohibitionist and not justified on a factual basis, I'm stickin' with "profoundly wrong-headed." ;)
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Re: WTN /Wine Advisor: Quick chill (Bonterra 06 Sauv Bl)

Postby wrcstl » Wed Aug 15, 2007 2:04 pm

Robin,
Can't really disagree as I use the freezer method during the dog days of summer. One problem, and I am proof of this, do not leave the bottle in the freezer forgotten. It may not harm the wine but as water freezes it expands and will push out the cork. With a high fill bottle you can completely push out the cork. The wine may be still good but some will be on the bottom of the freezer.
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Re: WTN /Wine Advisor: Quick chill (Bonterra 06 Sauv Bl)

Postby Gary Barlettano » Wed Aug 15, 2007 4:17 pm

I ain't no fizzy cyst, but I believe that water is simply a better conductor of heat (yes, heat), than air. In a chilled environment surrounded by water the heat is conducted out of the bottle faster than in the air.

Think of this. You stick your arms into a 450º F pizza oven to remove your pie. It takes a while before your arms burn. Stick them, however, into a bucket of 450º F water and you will see just how much better water conducts heat than air. The same principle applies to cooling engines etc.

For me the quick chill is always done in terra cotta vessel which I fill with water and ice.
And now what?
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Re: WTN /Wine Advisor: Quick chill (Bonterra 06 Sauv Bl)

Postby Robin Garr » Wed Aug 15, 2007 4:33 pm

Gary Barlettano wrote:Think of this. You stick your arms into a 450º F pizza oven to remove your pie. It takes a while before your arms burn. Stick them, however, into a bucket of 450º F water and you will see just how much better water conducts heat than air. The same principle applies to cooling engines etc.


Good analogy. A pedant would ask, though, how you're going to superheat water to that extent, since it boils at 212F ...
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Re: WTN /Wine Advisor: Quick chill (Bonterra 06 Sauv Bl)

Postby Gary Barlettano » Wed Aug 15, 2007 4:50 pm

Put salt or something in it? Like I said, I'm only a German teacher and not a physical sissy.
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Re: WTN /Wine Advisor: Quick chill (Bonterra 06 Sauv Bl)

Postby Andrew Lumpkin » Wed Aug 15, 2007 5:39 pm

Thanks Robin for bringing up a great topic. I think you all have this topic well under control, I just wanted to give you some data from my tests. This info, and much more, is available at http://www.nuvovino.com. Click on any of the links for wine temperature tutorial, faqs, or wine temperature.

Alas, the three methods I have tested are refrigerator, freezer, and ice bucket (with water). The goal is to lower the temperature of the 750ml bottle by about 20 deg F. Here are the results:

Refrigerator: About 2 hours (approx. 1 deg F per 6 minutes)
Freezer: About 30 minutes (approx. 1 deg F per 1.5 minutes)
Ice bucket: Less than 20 minutes (appox. 1 deg F per 1 minute)

The nice thing about the freezer is that the wine is changing temperature at a slower rate than the ice bucket. This helps to not over chill the wine. With any method, a timer is well advised. Or you can just watch the clock with giddy anticipation!

Best regards,

Andrew
The same red wine will taste 'hot and thin at 22° C, supple and fluid at 18° C, full and astringent at 10° C." Emile Peynaud was a Legendary Bordeaux Oenologist and author of The Taste of Wine. (2nd edn. New York, 1996). "
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Re: WTN /Wine Advisor: Quick chill (Bonterra 06 Sauv Bl)

Postby Hoke » Wed Aug 15, 2007 5:53 pm

Can't help you guys out with specific dates right now, but I can help clarify the difference, technically, between "made from organically grown grapes" and "organic wine".

The Feds declare that "organic wine" can't use any added sulfites, and cannot contain more than 10ppm sulfites. In the EU, the threshold is 100ppm.

Bonterra would be considered a relativlely low sulfite wine, with an average (depending upon vintage conditions, variety, and winemaking) of about, say 35--45ppm sulfites

By the by, the "no sulfites" thing is a truckload of prime grade bushwa. That whole thing started back in the Salad Bar Craze of the 70s. Unfortunately, when you had open salad bars you had to dump enormous amounts of sulfites on the produce to keep it from turning brown and sludgy. Even more unfortunately was the basic chemical reaction when Joan Q Customer loaded her plate seriously with a mound of heavily sulfited produce, then proceeded to pour copious amounts of oil and vinegar dressing over it. When you add vinegar to those sulfite, a sulfuric gas is produced---and a couple of people reacted to that gas by choking to death!

Then the Food Nazis got ahold of the issue, overdramatized it, and started a No Sulfites Campaign. The Neo-Prohibitionists camped on that when they discovered there were naturally ocurring sulfites in wine, as well as sulfur products used as preventives and preservatives in growing and winemaking, culminating in the no sulfites addition to labeling. And thus a neverending series of questions and mythology about how they think they are allergic to sulfites.

Bonterra's "made from organically grown grapes" philosophy, fyi, never had anything to do with sulfite concerns---it was simply about using sustainable/organic methods to create better grapes, because they though better grapes would make better wine, and would be better for the land. You know: what Texans call that tree huggin' stuff, and we call taking care of where we have to live. :)
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Re: WTN /Wine Advisor: Quick chill (Bonterra 06 Sauv Bl)

Postby Robin Garr » Wed Aug 15, 2007 5:56 pm

Hoke wrote:When you add vinegar to those sulfite, a sulfuric gas is produced---and a couple of people reacted to that gas by choking to death!


This explains my reaction Saturday to the worst home wine I have ever tasted at the Kentucky State Fair judging: A veritable stew of acetobacter and "if a little metabisulfite is good, a whole lot must be better," it literally made me choke. I've never had that reaction to a wine before, and I am not sulfite-sensitive. But this, even though a relatively minor reaction - calling 911 was never in question - had to be one of the most dangerous wines I've ever encountered.

I wanted to look up the wine maker's details so I could go punch him ...
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Re: WTN /Wine Advisor: Quick chill (Bonterra 06 Sauv Bl)

Postby Hoke » Wed Aug 15, 2007 6:03 pm

Robin Garr wrote:
Hoke wrote:When you add vinegar to those sulfite, a sulfuric gas is produced---and a couple of people reacted to that gas by choking to death!


This explains my reaction Saturday to the worst home wine I have ever tasted at the Kentucky State Fair judging: A veritable stew of acetobacter and "if a little metabisulfite is good, a whole lot must be better," it literally made me choke. I've never had that reaction to a wine before, and I am not sulfite-sensitive. But this, even though a relatively minor reaction - calling 911 was never in question - had to be one of the most dangerous wines I've ever encountered.

I wanted to look up the wine maker's details so I could go punch him ...


Be careful, Robin, or you'll be sending Paul B. on a Quest to track down that wine and champion it. :twisted:
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Re: WTN /Wine Advisor: Quick chill (Bonterra 06 Sauv Bl)

Postby Howie Hart » Wed Aug 15, 2007 6:27 pm

Robin Garr wrote:This explains my reaction Saturday to the worst home wine I have ever tasted at the Kentucky State Fair judging: A veritable stew of acetobacter and "if a little metabisulfite is good, a whole lot must be better," it literally made me choke. I've never had that reaction to a wine before, and I am not sulfite-sensitive. But this, even though a relatively minor reaction - calling 911 was never in question - had to be one of the most dangerous wines I've ever encountered.

I wanted to look up the wine maker's details so I could go punch him ...
It's people like this that give us a bad name. Well at least it wasn't corked. :wink:
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Re: WTN /Wine Advisor: Quick chill (Bonterra 06 Sauv Bl)

Postby Robin Garr » Wed Aug 15, 2007 6:43 pm

Hoke wrote:a Quest to track down that wine and champion it. :twisted:


Wines that <i>hurt</i> us!
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Re: WTN /Wine Advisor: Quick chill (Bonterra 06 Sauv Bl)

Postby Robin Garr » Wed Aug 15, 2007 6:44 pm

Howie Hart wrote:Well at least it wasn't corked. :wink:


Not so fast! It might have been! Underneath that horrible choking miasma, who knows <i>what</i> was going on ...
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Re: WTN /Wine Advisor: Quick chill (Bonterra 06 Sauv Bl)

Postby Mark Lipton » Wed Aug 15, 2007 7:15 pm

Hoke wrote: When you add vinegar to those sulfite, a sulfuric gas is produced---and a couple of people reacted to that gas by choking to death!


OK, it's Science Time on WLDG. Firstly, the gas produced by acidifying sulfite is sulfur dioxide -- a noxious gas, but not sulfuric. It is actually the anhydride of sulfurous acid, but that's probably too much information.

On the other topic of why wines cool faster in an ice bucket than in the freezer, Gary is right about air vs. water, but the relevant quantity is known as "heat capacity" and water has one of the highest commonly encountered. What I do to cool a wine quickly is place it in a cooling jacket that is permanently in the freezer. That way, we get efficient cooling from a -10 °F source.

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Last edited by Mark Lipton on Thu Aug 16, 2007 12:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: WTN /Wine Advisor: Quick chill (Bonterra 06 Sauv Bl)

Postby Hoke » Wed Aug 15, 2007 7:44 pm

Mark Lipton wrote:[


Thank you for the clarification, Mark. I don't profess to have any knowledge of chemistry stuff. Well, beyond hanging around Yaniger and pretending I understand what the hell he's talking about anyway...
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Re: WTN /Wine Advisor: Quick chill (Bonterra 06 Sauv Bl)

Postby Howie Hart » Wed Aug 15, 2007 9:18 pm

Mark Lipton wrote:On the other topic of why wines cool faster in an ice bucket than in the freezer, Gary is right about air vs. water, but the relevant quantity is known as "heat capacity" and water has one of the highest commonly encountered. What I do to cool a wine quickly is place it in a cooling jacket that is permanently in the freezer. That way, we get efficient cooling from a -10 °F source.

Mark Lipton
Here's simple way to illustrate this. Put one hand in a 350Deg.F oven and put the other in a pot of water, boiling at 212DegF.
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Re: WTN /Wine Advisor: Quick chill (Bonterra 06 Sauv Bl)

Postby Phillip Gregory » Fri Aug 17, 2007 8:16 pm

Robin
Hi. I'm new to the forum thought you may find this method very useful as no one else seems to have mentioned it.
You can have the best of both world's, the convenience of using convection cooling, the fridge, AND the speed of using conduction by simply wrapping the bottle in a wet tea towel or something similar.
I use this method often and it works very quickly,I would like to hear results of any experiments people may perform comparing the various methods.
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Re: WTN /Wine Advisor: Quick chill (Bonterra 06 Sauv Bl)

Postby Phillip Gregory » Fri Aug 17, 2007 8:21 pm

Addendum to the last post ,I forgot to add that you then put the bottle in the freezer ,which chills it down much faster than putting the bottle in, without the wet towel around it.
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Re: WTN /Wine Advisor: Quick chill (Bonterra 06 Sauv Bl)

Postby Cynthia Wenslow » Fri Aug 17, 2007 8:24 pm

Welcome to the Forum, Phillip!

This is precisely why one removes wet clothing from hypothermia victims.
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