Every wine is different, which means there is no straightforward answer to this question. It is true that white wines need a chill in order to bring out their bouquet, but chill it too much and you have numbed both your palate and the aromas within the wine, tasting nothing short of a chilled liquid with lingering alcohol sensation. Whichever way you chill your wine, always keep in mind that you are going for a certain temperature which should never get colder than 45°F, and should remain somewhere between 45°F and 50°F. This is the key to a chilled wine. Other wines, with more complex flavors do best at higher temperatures.
Some Wines Are Best Served at Higher Temperatures
The Dogajolo Toscano Bianco IGT which is composed of Chardonnay grapes blended with Grechetto and Sauvignon Blanc is best served at 50°F - 54°F in order to taste the fruity and aromatic flavors. A Valcomba Vermentino della Maremma Toscana DOC is yet another example of an Italian white wine which is best served at higher temperatures in order bring out the Spring blossoms of the Tuscan coastline aromas and flavors.
The Ice Bucket
It may seem simplistic but the best way to chill your bottle of white wine is in an ice bucket. It’s the classic method – dunk a bottle of white in a metal bucket filled with ice. What can go wrong? Using water to chill your wine is always a quick and efficient method of reducing the liquid’s temperature but the one main faux paux generally associated with this method is not submerging the bottle far enough into the ice. The entire bottle should be chilled, not just the body of the bottle. You don’t want the wine to have varying temperatures within the bottle. A tip to making sure the ice doesn’t go towards freezing temperature – add a bit of salt to the ice to regulate the freezing temperature.
What Not to Do
Many household quick fixes end up wrapping a cold wet towel over a bottle of wine and sticking it into the freezer. Believe it or not, this may actually slow the speed of the chill due to insulation. Unless you have the perfect environment in your freezer – meaning it’s the right temperature and there is pretty much nothing in the freezer other than the bottle of wine – you won’t be drinking your wine anytime soon with this method.
You can choose to put your bottle of white wine horizontally placed in the freezer, but it is vital to not keep it there for longer than 30 minutes or you may risk the cork expanding and exploding out of the bottle, leaving you with both a mess and no wine.