Monday, November 27, 2006

How To Store Leftover Wine

For some wine drinkers, very often they encounter situations whereby they could not finish the whole bottle of wine and needs to store it until the next consumption.

Well, do you know that the moment you pull the cork out of the bottle, wine comes in contact with air and once that happens, oxidation process begins. If you are not planning to consume all the wine in one sitting, then you need to know how to store the remaining wine so it won’t go bad.

Oxidation is the chemical reaction that occurs when oxygen comes in contact with wine. At first, oxidation is a good thing; it helps “open up” the wine, revealing different facets of its bouquet and aroma. However, after a couple of hours, further oxidation is a bad thing. It starts to damage the wine and will eventually ruin it.

Many of us have had the experience of leaving an unfinished bottle out all night without the cork back on. The difference in flavor and aroma the next day is striking and unmistakable. Even if re-corked the next day, the wine will usually taste flat and unpleasant. This is the product of the oxidation process.

So how do you preserve an open bottle of wine when you don’t want to (or can’t) drink the whole thing in one sitting?

There are in fact four reliable methods of preserving the remaining wine, some more reliable
than others:

(1) First, put the cork back on and put the wine in the fridge. The oxidative process slows down dramatically in cooler temperatures. This is a very easy and a fairly reliable method when you don’t have any other choices. Certainly much better than leaving an open bottle on the kitchen counter overnight.

(2) A second option is to transfer the remaining wine to a half-bottle (375ml) and put it in the fridge. Doing this eliminates most of the air that would normally come in contact with the wine in a standard-size bottle (750ml). While more effective than method #1, this involves carefully
transferring the wine over, which is only practical to do with a funnel.

(3) A third alternative is to pump out the air in the bottle with a “wine pump.” These pumps are fairly reliable and they work best if you also stick the bottle in the refrigerator after pumping out the air (no pump can completely remove the air from the bottle). Otherwise, you’ll still notice a slight difference in taste the next day and a more pronounced difference the following day and beyond.

(4) Use a wine preserver spray. This, by far, is the most effective and dependable method of keeping wine fresh. The spray is actually a blend of harmless inert gasses (gasses that don’t react with wine), which keep the wine from spoiling. Spraying the inside the bottle displaces the oxygen already present and leaves a blanket of inert gas over the wine. The amazing thing is, the gas will preserve the wine for days, even weeks!

What about wine that’s already spoiled? Whatever you do, don’t dump it down the drain. Instead, keep it in the fridge (with a cork on) for recipes that call for a little wine. Another idea is to pour it in ice trays and freeze it. And again, when you have a recipe that calls for wine, break off a few “wine cubes” instead.

Some may argue that it’s best to use fresh wine when cooking. However, do what you’d like. In some of the household, they do it so as not to waste a drop of wine!


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