No Wine Shall Ever Be Wasted!
Okay, today we’re going to talk about a little fiction. Let’s pretend that you’re sitting down with friends and enjoying a bottle of wine. Now let’s pretend that at the end of the night you find you still have an unfinished bottle of wine left (I know…I know. I told you this was fiction but stick with me anyway 🙂 ).
So at the end of the night you find that there’s an unfinished bottle of wine. Now I ask you: what do you do? Now I know many of you are saying ‘THAT just wouldn’t happen”. I’ll confess it doesn’t happen in my house often either when I am sharing with friends BUT there are times when I just want a glass of wine in the evening and I DO have left overs. Why? Because in my house my other half very rarely drinks wine. He says it tastes and smells like vinegar to him. I just think we haven’t found the RIGHT wine for him yet…but I digress.
Initially when a bottle of wine is opened oxygen actually helps the wine to ‘breathe’ and express its true self better but too much of that oxygen for too long will start the rapid process of deteriorating the wine. This is where left over wines need your help. There are basically four ways to slow that deterioration process.
- Put the cork back in the bottle and put the bottle in the refrigerator. This is probably the most common way to slow down the process of oxidation on a wine. By doing this you are stopping the bottle from being exposed to more oxygen and the cooling temperature in the refrigerator also slows down the process of the wine spoiling. This is also the cheapest way to preserve wine though not the most effective way.
- Transfer what’s left of the wine into a smaller bottle. By putting the remaining wine in a smaller bottle you are in essence reducing the amount of oxygen that the wine stays in contact with. How? Well, if there’s less room in the bottle for oxygen there’s less oxygen touching the wine. Simple. 🙂
- Pump out the air from the bottle with a ‘wine pump’. This is slightly more effective and has a minimum amount of cost (about $10). These ‘wine pumps’ are available at any wine store, Target, Bed Bath and Beyond, etcetera. This isn’t a foolproof way though because no ‘wine pump’ can ever get all the air out of a bottle. It will preserve the wine for a few days but it will work even better if you still put the wine in the refrigerator too.
- Pumping the bottle with gas. You can find these gas cartridges or bottles at most wine stores or online. These gases are inert (meaning they won’t hurt you or anything else for that matter) and are usually a combination of Nitrogen and Carbon Dioxide. This is the most effective way to preserve wines and can even preserve them for WEEKS if done correctly. Though me being who I am I would probably still put the bottle in the fridge just to be extra sure.
Now there are other things you can do with left over wine too. If you cook then you can use the left overs in recipes for things like risotto or gravies and other yummies.
Another thing you can do is freeze the wine in an ice cube tray for use at a future time in a recipe. This will keep it even longer then just refrigerating.
Also, as my friend Camille from Camille Cooks mentioned in a previous post here, you can make mulled or spiced wine. This is something that is popular around the holidays/winter in countries like the Czech Republic (I’ve had some in Prague. It was pretty good 🙂 ) It’s hot and spicy and so different from that glass of Pinot Noir you had last night.
So there you have it, some tips and tricks for preserving every last drop of wine. My philosophy is that not a drop should ever go to waste. Even a bad wine can usually serve it’s purpose in a recipe for something.
Also, if you live in a colder climate than I do (Florida) and the room where you have the half bottle of wine is 65 degrees or cooler and it’s a red wine then you don’t have to put the bottle in the refrigerator. I figured I would just add that last little tip in there. I forget sometimes that others live in climates that are a little cooler than mine. 🙂
Anyway, I’ll end here for now. Come back again on Sunday for my next wine review and if you like chocolate you might want to make sure you don’t miss next Wednesday’s post. Just saying! 😉
Posted on January 12, 2011, in Education, Food, Recipes, Red Grape Varieties, White Grape Varieties, Wine Terms and tagged controversy, good wine, inert gas, preserving wine, red table wine, red wine, refrigerate, Table wine, Total Wine, white wine, wine education, wine pump, wine terminology. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.