It’s December. Surely, you will have a gathering of friends and open some bottles of wine. If you have ready my blog posts for the last couple of months, you know exactly what wines to choose for your parties. But despite your enthusiasm, you’re likely to end up with more open bottles than you can finish. So, what do you do? How do you store the open bottles so they last and you can keep enjoying them?
It’s simple: re-cork all open bottles well (or use a wine bottle stopper that closes the bottle well) and refrigerate them. Yes, even reds. All wine deteriorates if kept at room temperature. Even though we consume red wine at a higher temperature than white or sparkling, red wine left at room temperature will quickly start turning into vinegar.
So, close that bottle well and put it in the fridge. It will be good for a day or two. When you want a glass, take the bottle out of the fridge a little ahead of time (10 minutes or so for whites, 30 to 40 for reds) and leave it at room temperature. Or, if you are like me and you forget, pour a glass and cup it in your hands. That will bring the wine to the right temperature much more quickly. And of course, holding a glass of wine will get you excited about that first sip.
If you want to extend the wine’s life even further, pour it into a small clean glass bottle. The smaller the bottle, the less oxygen there will be and the more slowly the wine will develop the unwanted acidity. Oxygen is the enemy of most wine, so the less you expose the wine to oxygen, the better.
If you have way too much wine left over and you know you cannot finish all of it in the next day or two, you still have several options. Sharing some open bottles with neighbors and friends is a great way to make new friends!
And, of course, you can always cook with wine. To add flavor to sautéed or baked fish, poultry, or meat, simply add a splash of wine. Or reduce the wine down by evaporating some of the water content, add some sugar or honey, and use it as syrup for ice-cream and other desserts. The more aromatic the wine, the better!
Whatever you do, enjoy the wine while it’s good and don’t worry about it too much.
Interested in learning more wine tips? Join me for my next wine class The Building Blocks of Wine: What's in a Sip? coming up at Lincoln Square in January.