Leftover wine, what’s that?
Just kidding ; ) My wife and I often end up with leftover wine, too… but generally speaking, it doesn’t last much more than 24 hours. However, some people only have one glass of wine per day and they have to find ways to make the wine last one, two, sometimes even three days! So, how do they do it?
As soon as the bottle is open, air gets in contact with the wine. Air is good! First, it aerates the wine, letting it “breathe” and “open up”. Something magical happens, as the softness and flavors of the wine come out in the taste and the smell. As time goes by, more oxygen continues to enter the bottle and oxidize your precious elixir. Now, air is the enemy, and we must find ways to keep it away from the wine to optimize drinking conditions.
Just know that if you must keep the wine for more than 48 hours, no matter what storing technique you use, it will never be up to the same performance level as it was on day one. Don’t let perfectly good wine go to waste. Be “wine smart” ; )
• Refrigeration – The battle against oxidation starts with refrigeration. Whether you want to prolong the life of a red, a white or a sparkling wine, make sure to pop it in the refrigerator instead of letting it sit out on the counter overnight. In the case of a red, remember to take it out the refrigerator a few minutes before drinking it.
• Recork – More often than not, the cork you popped will still fit the bottle top. The key is to make sure the cork is no tight to ensure the best possible seal. If the cork doesn’t fit, you can try an artsy/decorative top. Those are cute and fancy (great for parties and small talk) but they do not hold a tight seal. Lever bottle stoppers are not as classy but they have a better seal.
• Private Preserve – When you recork, you’re essentially locking the oxygen inside the bottle. This is the “Trojan Horse” of wine! Spray Private Preserve into the bottle to replace the oxygen with 3 other gases we naturally breathe (Carbon dioxide, Nitrogen and Argon). Unlike the air around us, the Private Preserve mixture lacks in oxygen and impurities which makes it a perfect environment for wine preservation.
• Pump It – Recorking works but it doesn’t remove the excess of air inside the bottle. If you have a pump, use it! It removes the air stuck in the bottle, minimizes the risk of wine contamination and keeps the wine fresh longer. Those pumps come with a couple stoppers and they only cost 10 to 15 dollars. Wine preserver and a life saver all in one ; )
• A Smaller Bottle – There’s nothing wrong with small. In fact, “small” can extend the life of a wine by twice the amount of time. Once you get down to about half the bottle, pour the remaining wine into a smaller bottle. This significantly decreases the bottle’s capacity for holding surplus oxygen at the top. Less air in the bottle means less contact with air. Pretty simple.
• Cocktails – Once the wine has been open for 48 hours or more, the above techniques won’t help you much anymore. At this point, it’s drink or fling. But before you decide to dump your wine in the sink, you might consider a few cocktail ideas. In the case of a red wine, you can make a delicious Cardinal or Communard (Fun Wine Cocktails – Cardinal). If you’re drinking white, make it a Kir. Those cocktails consist in mixing Blackcurrant liqueur into the wine, resulting in a crisp, refreshing, delicate and slightly sweet drink – just sweet enough to take the edge off the wine’s acidity that’s been collecting over time.
While an opened wine may not be up to the same performance level a couple of days later, it could star in a Sangria recipe where the fruit, sugar and additional alcohol will give it new life.
• Wine Cubes – If you can’t use it all, freeze it! Pour the leftover wine in an ice cube tray and place it in your freezer. Once frozen, simply put the wine cubes in a Ziploc bag to avoid freezer smell, and use whenever you need to. Spike a drink, keep that sangria cold, or use for an easy-to-grab cooking essential with marinades, stews & sauces!
• Cook – There is no reason to let a favorite wine go to waste, when you can put it to good use in another venue. After 48 hours, consider cooking with your wine. Really, do yourself a favor and think of a dish that calls for wine or an easy marinade. Cooking with wine is another way to both redeem an opened bottle of wine and infuse richer flavors into reduction sauces, soups and meats. Plus, you get to open a new bottle of wine to enjoy with your meal. It’s a win-win ; )
• Salad Dressing – After 3 to 4 days, your wine will start tasting like vinegar. You might as well use it as such. Feature it front and center in a wine-based salad dressing, and be the hero that saved that precious wine.
Leftover wine may seem oxymoronic, but at some point, it’ll happen to you, too. I personally don’t like leftover wine. Della Reese said it beautifully (though metaphorically) in her 1970 song – “I can’t stand the taste of this leftover wine.”