Like many wine lovers, I am the queen of less is more when it comes to wine consumption. I even wrote about how different wine glasses are basically a scam. But I do like to enjoy wine when I want to enjoy it, and not mess around with wine that’s the wrong temperature or tastes weird. (File under: um, of course.)
I have three wine accessories I use literally every day to save time and get to the good part.
Instead of a decanter…
Wine tastes better when you give it time to open up and hang out with some air, letting the flavours tightly trapped in the bottle bloom into life. There are many beautiful decanters that can do this. Unfortunately, it takes time – like 2-3 hours of it. Once you’ve done the deed, your wine will be dead as a doornail in less than 48 hours. (Red wine more typically lasts 2-3 days at room temperature once open.) That’s not counting the time it takes to swab out a dirty decanter with a tiny toilet brush.
The time-saver’s solution is a wine aerator, like a Vinturi. (There are also several cheaper knockoff versions but I can’t vouch for whether they work or not. The brand name is about $45 and well worth it.) I got this as a gift a few years ago and none of my reds are safe from it. You pour through the little spout and boom! Your wine is ready to drink.
There’s an a fancy version with a stand too, in case you’re a menace with a free pour.
Instead of 15 minutes of freezer time..
One of the oldest wine hacks in the business is wrapping your lukewarm wine in a damp towel and popping it in the freezer for 10-15 minutes for a perfect chill. (Depending on your freezer – looking at you, shitty apartment fridge!)
This next cheat is actually made for whiskey lovers, not wine enthusiasts, but it’s damn useful. If your wine is fresh off the liquor store shelf, pop 2-3 whiskey stones in your glass and sip away. Pop the rest in the freezer with your damp towel.
Whiskey stones are made of, well, stone, so they don’t dilute or change the flavour of your wine. One caveat: if you’re doing this with red wine, prepare for whiskey stones covered in red stains. (It doesn’t hurt the stone, though.) They come in packs of nine, so if stains really bother you, rotate out the ones you use for reds. A few thorough washes with plain, cold water and a few uses outside of red wine, and the stain will gradually fade away.
I find these pretty weak at cooling so I throw in three at a time to quickly adjust the temperature. (DO NOT THROW THEM THEY ARE ROCKS AND WILL BREAK YOUR GLASS.)
Instead of literally waiting one more second…
This is my super shortcut and it’s made my life as a person who buys multiple bottles at a time so much easier.
Mini wine fridges have become relatively affordable and are really the cat’s ass in terms of having perfectly chilled wine ready to go. If you’re on the fence at all about whether you really need one, just get it. I did and I have zero regrets, best purchase ever.
The very small wine fridges fit up to eight bottles at one temperature.* I pick something toward the best serving temperature for most reds, because I tend to drink whites immediately. Adjust to your life as necessary!
Fun fact: red wine is meant to be drunk at “room temperature”, but when they came up with that rule they were in medieval Europe, where “room temp” meant about 17 C. So yes, red wine does taste better when it’s slightly chilled compared to present day room temperature (which is really whatever we tell it to be anyway).
*I had trouble finding a six-bottle countertop wine fridge like I have – maybe they don’t make them anymore? In any case, this 17-bottle wine fridge by the same brand is only $20 more than what I paid for mine. I’m happy for you but secretly filled with rage.
And here’s a product you can skip…
In your pursuits to cool down a bottle, skip the Corksicle. If you haven’t seen it, it’s a long plastic stick you freeze and then jam into your wine bottle. There are a couple of reasons why it’s a poor choice:
- You are definitely going to get drunk, forget to empty some wine out first, and cause a wine fountain to erupt when you slam that thing into a new bottle willy-nilly.
- More importantly, it’s made of plastic, which tastes gross, and as soon as your wine warms up a degree it will taste like plastic too.
- There’s gel inside the plastic, and hoo boy I don’t want to be there the day the plastic inevitably breaks down and spills it everywhere.
Whiskey stones for cooling! Repeat after me. Happy drinking, wine lovers.