With regard to the maturation process, yes, freezing will slow
the process, as discussed in this detailed article by Jeff Cox
at the Storeybooks.com website:
"The ideal temperature is a constant 58-degrees F
(14-degrees C), which allows wine to age slowly
and gracefully to perfection. Although you may
not be able to arrange for a constant 58-degrees
(14-degrees C) (cooling units are not worth the
cost for wine storage), remember that the limits
are 50-degrees F (10-degrees C) minimum and
65-degrees F (18-degrees C) maximum, average
yearly temperature...Below 50-degrees F
(10-degrees C), maturation is delayed; above
65-degrees F (18-degrees C) it is hastened to
the point of damage. The maturation of wine
cannot be hurried without harming the quality.
The best things take time."
However, at least in the experienced opinions
of some wine lovers, freezing wine that has been
opened can have a very beneficial effect on its
An article entitled 'After Freezing Left Over Wines,
They Taste Better', by Julian Schultz, on the Oxford
Wine Room website, discusses this at length:
"...when I removed the bottle for the wine to thaw,
the wine resembled a popsicle. About six hours later,
the water and solids had separated. I shook the bottle
vigorously to restore the wine to its natural condition.
Although the wine's color showed somewhat dull, its
flavor was superb! Better even than when the wine was
first tasted. Sandy tartrates at the bottom of the
bottle indicated the freezing.
Since then, I have frozen dozens of wines when I knew
I would be unable to drink them until after four days
had passed. White or red, it made no difference.
Wines should be frozen while freshshortly after the
bottle has been opened. After having been frozen, the
wine tasted immeasurably better. Warning: Once having
been frozen, do not re-freeze the wine."
Much more on the page:
A more conservative assessment, on the Early To Rise
website, does not disagree:
"What happens if you leave a bottle of wine in your
car during sub-zero weather and it freezes? Will
it do any serious damage?"
"Because of its alcohol content, wine has to get
really cold -- typically around 15 degrees --
before it will freeze. Yes, the freezing wine
could force the cork out or even break the
bottle. But if that doesn't happen, the quality
of the wine should be OK. According to the 30
Second Wine Advisor (email@example.com),
'near-freezing temperatures may precipitate out
some of the wine's natural acidity in the form
of insoluble tartrate crystals, but most
authorities argue that this doesn't perceptibly
affect the flavor. (In fact, although the
practice is controversial, some people actually
put a half-finished bottle in the freezer to
Next, from a website whose homepage is entitled
'Los Olivos Wine & Spirits Emporium - The Very Best
in Santa Barbara Wine and the entire Central Coast
Wine Region!', we have this from the UseNet Wine FAQs:
"...there have been a fair number of people who claim
positive results with the process--not only with
freezing, but even by nuking the wine (gently) in a
microwave to thaw it (at least part of the way).
"These people [are] very happy with the results. A
few have noted that in some wines there are radically
increased precipitates, mostly potassium tartrate.
(Increased precipitates result because the water
freezes at higher temperatures, therefore the
concentration of alcohol and soluble items--such
as potassium tartrate--are higher in the liquid
portion [the water turning to ice]. Things which
will precipitate out easily, will do so, and
probably won't dissolve back into the wine so
quickly. Now, one possible effect of this is
that a wine will taste less acidic--which may or
may not be a desirable effect. Another effect is
that the constituents of the wine which make up
taste and color can be affected. But then, if
it works for you . . . ."
Other articles about freezing wine can be found
in the search results I provided below, however
I believe I've given you the consensus perspective
on the matter.
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Searches done, via Google:
"maturation of wine
"freezing wine" maturity
"effect of freezing on wine