A Pinot frozen in prime
It’s not often that I polish off a full bottle in an evening. We’re grateful for the restraint — my doctor, wife and I. The leftover wine? It’s a constant in our home.
Many have pondered foolproof methods of preserving an open bottle and it’s a pretty widespread belief that the large majority are flawed. I’ve written that the best approach might be smaller formats like the 375 mL. After all, wine that’s drunk can’t go bad.
Philly sommelier and consultant Marnie Old first told me about freezing wine. I admit it sounded like a radical idea, if not somewhat impractical. Old heard about it from expert wine guy Ronn Wiegand who, in 2007, claimed to have frozen about 20,000 bottles in his career. Reportedly, wine in solid form can keep for months and maybe years. The notion stuck in my mind but I kept it on ice.
That was until a friend came to town. In early July, with my family away in New England, I played host to my longtime pal and we got ourselves tangled in a couple selections from my cellar. Late one night, at an hour long on vagary, I popped a plump Pinot Noir from Kanzler to punctuate the day and the friendship. We weren’t a half glass into it when we conceded defeat, and sleep. He was leaving in the morning and I was flying out on a business trip. I eyed the beautiful Kanzler, standing in the summer night like an undrafted centerfielder in his prime. Sad, really, but there was hope in the form of a Frigidaire.
Into the deep freeze it went, upright, and for several weeks it chilled.
Then came a Friday in August, a pork loin and a Phillies broadcast. Home from work, I dislodged the inert Pinot from amongst sorbet containers and Trader Joe’s boxes and set it on the counter. It was fully thawed in a matter of hours, maybe three. The juice was fresh, cool and delicious. It hadn’t lost a step. Right on, Ronn.
Once again, a lesson in open mindedness: Wine has the potential to constantly surprise us if we drop our barriers and embrace the new.
And that’s the ice cold truth.