In short, some Chardonnay wines are safe to freeze, but it’s not a practice that should be anyone’s go-to. Wine is a delicate beverage and doesn’t respond well to very hot or very cold temperatures. Freezing Chardonnay can subtly change its taste, although most people won’t notice a difference. However, liquid expands when it’s frozen, and a corked wine doesn’t have anywhere to go. If you leave a Chardonnay in the freeze for too long, it might come uncorked, or the bottle might crack.
It’s also unwise to freeze a sparkling wine because a cracked or uncorked bottle would be the least of your worries; these can outright explode.
What Happens If You Freeze Chardonnay?
Wine is mostly water, so it expands when frozen and isn’t stopped by obstacles like screw tops, corks, or the glass container itself. If the bottle breaks, your wine drinking night will be replaced with the chore of cleaning the freezer and shooing pets away from broken glass. But if you’re left with an intact bottle, just place it in the fridge or on the counter until it reaches a more appropriate temperature to consume.
Sometimes frozen wine can change in texture and taste. But unless this Chardonnay is a favorite that you’re extremely familiar with, you’re unlikely to notice anything different.
Does Freezing Chardonnay Ruin It?
Freezing Chardonnay doesn’t necessarily ruin it unless the bottle breaks. No one wants glass shards in their bubbly, so the safest thing to do with a cracked bottle is to throw it away. Frozen wine can also form crystals in it, also known as wine diamonds. These are harmless and cosmetic in nature, although they don’t taste great if you find yourself chewing on one. Winemakers sometimes put their wines through a cold stabilization process. This process removes these crystals because consumers aren’t big fans of them. These crystals should sink to the bottom of the bottle, where they’re easily avoided.
How Long Can You Freeze Chardonnay?
It’s best to place Chardonnay in a bucket of ice, not the freezer. Not only is it safer, but an ice bucket actually works much faster. But if your heart is set on risking it all, still wines can be placed in the freezer for 30 to 40 minutes to reach their ideal temperature. Sparkling Chardonnay shouldn’t be left in the freezer for more than 20 minutes or so.
Some people are guilty of freezing Chardonnay in their car, long forgotten after the groceries were brought inside. It’s best to get it ASAP and handle it carefully. Anyone who’s had a soda explode in their car knows the dread of cleaning it up, and wine is arguably worse because your vehicle will smell like alcohol.
You can freeze Chardonnay for 20 to 40 minutes, depending on if it’s still or sparkling. Be careful not to freeze it for too long because you risk breaking the bottle. If the cork begins leaking in the freezer, treat the wine as if it’s opened and consume it within a few days. Never microwave a bottle of wine or place a frozen bottle near a fireplace or oven. The temperature of the glass might change too rapidly, which can also cause the bottle to crack.