Why are the same people who gasp in horror at the thought of adulterating their beer with ice cubes happy to inquire whether you want ice in your wine? Surely adding ice to wine is sinful, isn’t it? Wine basics say that red wine should be served at room temperature and white wine should be chilled but not too cold, right? So where does the ice come into the equation? Especially if you don’t have your own wine refrigerator.
Actually, there is nothing wrong with adding ice cubes to wine in certain countries and, in hot countries like Italy or Spain, ice cubes are routinely added to wine. When you consider that a group of people might be sitting outdoors in 100 degrees F heat, the wine is going to become warm within minutes. The only way to keep it cool is to add ice to it. Now you are not going to do that with a pricey bottle of Chateau Lafite but you would not be drinking such a wine in the heat anyway.
The main concern people have about adding ice to wine is that it will dilute their wine. Some people do not even like adding ice to soda. Yes, ice will dilute the wine a little but it will also keep it at a drinkable temperature. Wine which is too warm has a poor flavor and that is one of the wine basics. The alcohol flavor becomes too strong and will destroy the good flavors in the wine. Surely a little more water in the wine (and wine is mainly made of water anyway!) is better than a warm wine which has lost its nice flavor.
If you enjoy being outdoors when the sun is shining, hiding indoors in the air conditioning is not a good way to pass a summer day. Keeping the bottle on ice keeps the wine inside chilled but that does not help once the wine is in your glass unless you drink it super-fast. You can get plastic ice cubes which are basically ice cubes inside a thin layer of colored plastic. Simply freeze them and pop them in your wine to keep it cool without diluting it. Plastic does not interfere with the wine’s flavor since most wine corks these days are made from plastic.
What about super-cooling the wine in the freezer and then letting it come to a drinkable temperature afterwards? Most household freezers are about 5 degrees F inside. When a liquid is frozen, it expands. That is fine if you are freezing ice cubes since they have the space to expand but what about pressurized wine in a corked bottle? There is nowhere for the air to go when the water content expands so if the cork does not pop out, the bottle might crack. You do not want to risk that!
So, it is a baking hot day and you are enjoying the sun on your face. The grill is fired up. Great food smells are in the air and everyone is relaxing with a glass of wine. How do you keep the wine cool? The sensible option seems to be using ice cubes. It is up to you whether you use conventional ice cubes or the plastic-coated type. If you are worried about other people laughing at you then maybe it is time to reevaluate your friends. You will be sipping your cool wine and enjoying it and they won’t be enjoying their warm wine, so who is the clever one?
Wine is meant to be savored and enjoyed and if that means popping a few plastic ice cubes in it, where is the harm? Overly warm wine tastes dreadful so why let your wine get warm when you could solve the issue so simply with a few ice cubes?Better still, get your own wine cooler.
So, can you put ice in win? Most certainly!