About single bottle wine coolers and chillers
It is a dilemma that almost all wine lovers have faced: an occasion arises that just screams for a lovely bottle of white wine, but they don’t have one already chilled.
Throwing one into the fridge takes too long, the freezer can be too cold and “bite” the wine around the edges, and icy baths require constant attention to keep the bottle moving to be effective. By the time the bottle is chilled, the occasion often seems to have passed.
Even with a cold bottle, unless you are in a large group or are a particularly fast drinker, there is still the issue of keeping the bottle at a cool temperature while you drink your first glasses. Tabletop ice buckets can sweat, leaving puddles of water dripping from tables to thighs. Constant trips to and from the fridge are a hassle when you just want to enjoy your Chenin Blanc outdoors on a summer evening.
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Single bottle chillers vs. ice buckets
Fortunately for wine lovers, a growing product category exists for single bottle wine coolers. The simplest of these are insulated jackets – think beer “coozies” for your wine bottles. Up from this there are cooling sticks – glass or stainless steel cylinders, often filled with a food-safe coolant, that you freeze and insert into an opened wine bottle to keep it cool.
There are a wide range of ice bucket concepts, many that don’t even require ice but instead use vacuum-walled thermos technology to insulate the bottle. The top of the line products for home use are electrical chillers that use ice or thermoelectric cooling technology to quickly chill your bottle while you relax and wait.
Unlike an old-fashioned metal bucket that you fill with ice, many of these products can cool your bottle of wine to an optimal serving temperature.
These products all represent a one-time investment that will lead to years and years of enhanced imbibing enjoyment. You can also use more than one product in tandem. If you take a bottle of white from the fridge, it will initially be slightly too cold, so a bit of warming isn’t such a bad thing.
Why chill wines?
Wine lovers know that whites, sparkling and roses all require cool temperatures for optimal enjoyment. It is often remarked that Americans drink their white wines too cold. While there is some truth to this, the real answer to the question of best serving temperature is a matter of personal preference. You should drink your wine at the temperature you most enjoy.
That said, many wine drinkers choose a temperature out of custom or habit, and don’t know that they may enjoy their wines more at a different temperature. In general, more full bodied whites such as Chardonnay should be drunk slightly warmer, at around 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
Lighter bodied wines like Pinot Grigio should be drunk colder, around 42-46 degrees. Sparkling wines and most roses should be drunk in the low 40s as well. Wine straight out of the refrigerator is typically around 35-40 – colder than its ideal serving temperature.
Who needs a single bottle chiller?
Not everyone has the space, budget, or need of a dedicated wine cooler. But most people find it hard to even get the milk and eggs into the fridge, so trying to always have a few cold bottles on hand is nearly impossible. As packed as the fridge normally is, it gets even more stuffed when you’re preparing for a dinner party – the exact time when you most need to get a few bottles of wine in.
Single bottle chillers are a great solution to this problem, as are the other products mentioned here that can be used in tandem with other cooling methods to augment the process of chilling and maintaining the cold temperature of your bottle of wine.
The smaller products are also great when you’re on the go. Whether it’s an outdoor concert, picnic, camping trip or just a backyard barbecue, insulating jackets and cooling sticks are a great way to get the full taste and character out of your white wines.
These smaller items are one time purchases that will last years, or even a lifetime. If you’re passionate about wine, investing a bit more can thoroughly enhance your enjoyment of your whites, and ensure you are drinking them at their proper serving temperature. Check out our guides to buying various single bottle wine coolers. Your taste buds – and the guests at your next soiree – will thank you later.