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Q & A: debris in frozen wine

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Most recent answer: 04/09/2018
Q:
I set a bottle of chardonnay in the freezer attempting to cool it down. I forgot about it and pulled it out the next day. It was frozen, so naturally, I put it in the refrigerator to defrost it. The wine is defrosted, however, there is about a 1 cm layer of white particles the bottom of the wine. They appear to be 1mm in size. They are shaped almost round but are irregular. Does anyone know what this might be? When it was defrosted, the wine did not go back to its original state as evident by the particles. I am curious if anyone knows what the particles are and what is left behind the liquid? Thanks!
- Natalie Simas (age 40)
Portland, Oregon
A:

My guess is that those are mostly sugar, but with enough other impurities to disrupt the formation of nicely shaped crystals. As the liquid froze the sugar, excluded from the ice, became concentrated and started to crystalize. My guess is that they might dissolve again if given long enough, unless some strong cross-links formed between molecules. 

Perhaps we should suggest to avoid this problem by choosing a drier wine.

Mike W.


(published on 04/09/2018)

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