Most people have put a bottle of champagne into their freezer then forgotten all about it until the following day when they worry that they’ve ruined their bubbly.
However, there’s no need to panic since it’s perfectly possible to thaw and drink frozen champagne as long as you follow some simple steps.
Is Champagne Safe to Drink When Frozen then Thawed?
Like other types of wine and most other alcoholic beverages, champagne will freeze when left for excessive periods of time in a home freezer.
Most wines have a freezing point of 15 – 20 degrees Fahrenheit (or -9 to -6 degrees Celsius), and most home freezers are set to -18 degrees Celsius or 0 degrees Fahrenheit for food safety purposes.
Therefore, if you leave champagne in your freezer for long enough, it will either go slushy or perhaps turn into a solid block.
While it isn’t ideal, so long as the bottle remains intact, champagne that has been frozen will be safe to drink after it has been thawed.
Crystals may fall out of the wine, but these are safe for human consumption as they’re tartaric acid crystals – identical to cream of tartar which is used when whipping egg whites into meringue.
Does Freezing Ruin Champagne?
When champagne is frozen, though, it won’t be exactly the same when it is thawed out. Firstly, champagne is supposed to be sparkling but, most often, thawed champagne won’t be anywhere near as carbonated when it is opened.
Also, the cold in your freezer may damage some of the champagne’s delicate notes which will become more oxidized and bitter, causing the floral and fruity notes to fade.
It’s true to say that champagne is a beverage that is extremely chemically sophisticated. The extreme cold won’t just alter the stability of tartrate, but it can also affect protein stability too.
For this reason, most reputable Champagne houses and wine merchants won’t ship wine in the winter, particularly if it’s being sent to a recipient living in an equally cold climate.
Is There a Better Way to Chill Champagne than in My Freezer?
Putting champagne into the freezer isn’t even the quickest way of getting the beverage to the ideal serving temperature.
You want to serve champagne at around 40 – 50 degrees Fahrenheit as if it gets any colder, its flavors become difficult to taste. If you put champagne in your freezer, it takes around 15 minutes for it to reach that temperature.
Conversely, if you pop the bottle into a saltwater ice bath, it will take under ten minutes to cool champagne to its ideal temperature thanks to cold water’s thermal conductivity.
For this reason, service professionals prefer to use this method when they’re serving dinner in restaurants.
Not only is it a quicker way to get champagne to its perfect serving temperature, but it also eliminates the risk of the beverage becoming too cold and destroying its flavors.
It also prevents the problems associated with freezing champagne for extended periods of time.